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Archaeological Silver Embrittlement and Fracture Mechanics Applications

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The current knowledge of archaeological silver embrittlement is summarized. This knowledge comes from several invasive (sampling) investigations that have provided much information unobtainable from non-invasive studies. In addition, microscale fracture models and qualitative basic fracture mechanics concepts are discussed with respect to the cracking behaviour of embrittled objects. The usefulness of some of the knowledge and fracture mechanics considerations for non-invasive examinations is illustrated in a discussion of severe cracking in the Enkomi Cup.

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My thanks to the colleagues and institutions who over the years have provided information and assistance: Pavel Bartuška, Co Dalemans, Jiří Děd, Alessandra Giumlia-Mair, Tim Hattenberg, Roel Jansen, Ineke Joosten, Ron Leenheer, Ronny Meijers, Mansoure Nezarati, Peter Northover, Gerhard Stawinoga, Jarka Vaníčková; Museum het Valkhof, Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre; and of course the reviewers.

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Correspondence to R. J. H. Wanhill.

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This invited article is part of a special topical issue of the journal Metallography, Microstructure, and Analysis on Archaeometallurgy. The issue was organized by Dr. Patricia Carrizo, National Technological University – Mendoza Regional, and Dr. Omid Oudbashi, Art University of Isfahan and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, on behalf of the ASM International Archaeometallurgy Committee.

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Wanhill, R.J.H. Archaeological Silver Embrittlement and Fracture Mechanics Applications. Metallogr. Microstruct. Anal. 12, 219–232 (2023).

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