Organogel formulations for the cleaning of easel paintings
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Gels are particularly useful for the cleaning of works of art, as they allow the controlled delivery of cleaning fluids on solvent-sensitive substrates such as easel paintings. Owing to the presence of covalent cross-links between the polymer chains, chemical gels exhibit mechanical properties that allow their easy handling and their residue-free removal from artistic surfaces after the cleaning intervention. Organogels based on the cross-linking of methyl methacrylate (MMA) can be prepared as loaded with solvents for the controlled removal of unwanted layers from the surface of canvas paintings. Here, we propose MMA-based organogels obtained by solubilizing MMA in pure organic solvents (e.g., ethyl acetate, butyl acetate and ketones) and using a dimethacrylate cross-linker. The uptake/release behavior of the gels has been investigated, and their mesoporosity has been characterized through small-angle X-ray scattering. Finally, the gels have been used for the removal of historical varnishes from canvas painting samples, checking the absence of gel residues with attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).
KeywordsPMMA Methyl Ethyl Ketone HALS Butyl Acetate Free Solvent
CSGI, MIUR and European Union (Project NANOFORART, FP7-ENV-NMP-2011/282816) are acknowledged for financial support.
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