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Cleaning of Fire Damaged Watercolor and Textiles Using Atomic OxygenA noncontact technique is described that uses atomic oxygen generated under low pressure in the presence of nitrogen to remove soot from the surface of a test watercolor panel and strips of cotton, wool and silk. The process, which involves surface oxidation, permits control of the amount of surface material removed. The effectiveness of soot removal from test panels of six basic watercolors (alizarin crimson, burnt sienna, lemon yellow, yellow ochre, cerulean blue and ultramarine blue) and strips of colored cotton, wool and silk was measured using reflectance spectroscopy. The atomic oxygen removed soot effectively from the treated areas and enabled partial recovery of charred watercolors. However, overexposure can result in removal of sizing, bleaching, and weakening of the structure. With the proper precautions, atomic oxygen treatment appears to have great potential to salvage heavily smoke damaged artworks which were previously considered unrestorable.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Rutledge, Sharon K.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Banks, Bruce A.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Chichernea, Virgil A.
(Cleveland State Univ. Cleveland, OH United States)
Haytas, Christy A.
(Cleveland State Univ. Cleveland, OH United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
August 1, 2000
Subject Category
Nonmetallic Materials
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:210335
Meeting Information
18th International Congress of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works(Melbourne)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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NameType 20000083957.pdf STI