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Title: Back to nature : geologically informed consolidants for stone museum artefacts
Author: Booth, Jennifer Harriet Halsey
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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The Back to Nature project was developed as a collaborative doctoral award between the British Museum and the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. The British Museum has a large collection of limestone artefacts, some of which have deteriorated to an extent that a consolidation treatment, to improve internal cohesion, has been deemed necessary to ensure the value of the artefacts is maintained. Previous consolidation practices within the museum had centred on the use of organic consolidants. In the past, inorganic consolidants had been considered ineffective chiefly due to poor penetration depth and inconsistent deposition within the stone. Recent scientific developments within conservation, particularly the development of nano-limes, coupled with a trend towards treatments offering physical and chemical compatibility, led to the British Museum reconsidering the use of inorganic consolidants. Three inorganic consolidants: ammonium oxalate treatment, Calcite In-situ Precipitation System (CIPS), and CaLoSil have been investigated by the Back to Nature project to assess their potential for use on the British Museum’s deteriorated limestone artefacts. The investigation involved a developmental sequence of four experimental phases to assess the effectiveness of each consolidant upon freshly cut, artificially pre-weathered, and naturally weathered stone samples. In all experiments an organic silane Wacker SILRES BS OH 100 was used as a comparison. A variety of analytical methods were used including: Equotip, GrindoSonic, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Karsten Tubes, Drilling Resistance Measurement System, spectrophotometry, X-ray Diffraction and Ion Chromatography. Experiments show that the CIPS treatment could hold promise for use as a consolidant. Ammonium oxalate only appears to provide consolidation at the surface level, and CaLoSil would need modifying and more investigation before using in the museum environment. The differences noted between experiments on artificially weathered and naturally weathered stone indicate that a two-step process, involving testing on both types of samples, would give the best indication of consolidant effectiveness. High variability between samples shows a large number are needed to give an accurate interpretation of change due to consolidation.
Supervisor: Viles, Heather; Fletcher, Philip Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Geography ; Archeology ; Materials studies (archaeology) ; stone conservation ; limestone ; consolidation ; inorganic