Use of bacterial cellulose in degraded paper restoration. Part II: application on real samples


Preservation of documentary heritage is one of the biggest challenges facing paper conservators today. The singular properties of bacterial cellulose (BC) lead us to propose to reinforce paper with BC sheets. In the first part of this study, the reinforcing capability of BC was tested on model papers of well-known fiber composition. The aim of the present study was to verify the suitability of rebuilding degraded old papers with BC. The degraded papers were characterized before and after the reinforcement. In addition, lined samples were characterized before and after an aging process in order to study the stability in time. The same methodology was used with Japanese paper (JP), a material commonly used by paper conservators, in order to compare both materials as reinforcement. Mechanical properties of paper lined with BC are as good as those obtained with JP. Papers lined with BC have more marked modifications on their optical properties than those restored with JP. Nevertheless, letters in books lined with BC are more legible. Moreover, only the papers restored with BC show high changes in porosity. The aging process leads to a slight decrement in burst index. Changes on tear index and optical properties with the aging process depend on the paper to be restored. This study suggests that BC improves deteriorated paper quality, without altering the information contained therein, and that this improvement is maintained over time. Hence, BC is a promising alternative material for the restoration of paper.

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The authors wish to thank the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation for funding this study via Project CTQ 2010-17702, and the Madrid Regional Goverment via Project RETO PROSOST P2013-MAE2907.

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Correspondence to Sara M. Santos.

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Santos, S.M., Carbajo, J.M., Gómez, N. et al. Use of bacterial cellulose in degraded paper restoration. Part II: application on real samples. J Mater Sci 51, 1553–1561 (2016).

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  • Contact Angle
  • Aging Process
  • Bacterial Cellulose
  • Static Contact Angle
  • Dynamic Contact Angle