Rate of Paper Degradation. The Predictive Value of Artificial Aging Tests

TitelRate of Paper Degradation. The Predictive Value of Artificial Aging Tests
AuteursPorck, Henk J.
InstituutEuropean Commission on Preservation and Access
SamenvattingDuring artificial or accelerated aging a material is subjected to extreme conditions in a climate-chamber to try to speed up the natural aging process. Artificial aging tests are often used to determine the permanence of paper, i.e. its rate of degradation, as well as to predict the long-term effect of a conservation treatment. However, there are still many questions surrounding the actual predictive value of these tests. The present report, based on specialist literature and discussions with experts, aims at providing an overview of the current state of affairs concerning the possibilities and limitations of artificial aging analysis. The report is not only intended for conservation scientists involved in research in this field, but also for those responsible for the development of a conservation policy. Since the fifties a great variety of artificial aging methods has been developed for paper, and the field of application of these methods in the practice of conservation of archival and library materials has broadened enormously. Nevertheless, fundamental and experimental research into the reliability of artificial aging analyses is only performed on a limited scale. An evaluation of this research indicates that the essential questions have not been resolved satisfactorily, and that findings have not resulted in the use of a generally accepted standard method. Differences in opinion still prevail, and there are evident disagreements with respect to the conditions under which artificial aging should preferably be performed. In this report it is shown that the results of artificial aging tests currently available do not allow for a reliable determination of the rate of paper degradation in absolute terms. Meaningful application of the tests is limited to qualitative, relative statements on the expected effects of conservation treatments and on the role of the various reactions that contribute to the deterioration of paper. The present report offers several practical recommendations and suggestions on alternative approaches to the question of how quickly paper deteriorates. It is also proposed to organize a meeting on this topic, for instance under the auspices of the ECPA or the CLIR. Such a meeting should help to break through the present deadlock characterized by uncertainty and doubt, and work out an agenda for a joint approach to the problem.
  • Documentatie
  • |
  • 08-11-2010