Central European Journal of Chemistry

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 47–53 | Cite as

Study by grazing incident diffraction and surface spectroscopy of amalgams from ancient mirrors

  • L. K. Herrera
  • A. Duran
  • M. L. Franquelo
  • A. R. González-Elipe
  • J. P. Espinós
  • J. Rubio-Zuazo
  • G. R. Castro
  • A. Justo
  • J. L. Perez-Rodriguez
Research Article


Characterization of four amalgam surfaces, with different alteration degrees from Andalusia historical mirrors, has been carried out by grazing-incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXRD), and other spectroscopic techniques (SEM/EDX, XPS, and REELS). The combination of all these techniques allows determining the corrosion state of the amalgams. The results show that the amalgams are composed in all cases of a binary alloy of tin and mercury. As mercury has high vapour pressure at RT, it slowly segregates and eventually evaporates, it leaves finely divided particles of tin that easily can be oxidize, forming tin monoxide (SnO) and tin dioxide (SnO2). In one of the samples, most of the amalgam remains unoxidized, since Hg0.1Sn0.9 and metallic Sn phases are the major components; in two other samples, Hg0.1Sn0.9 and Sn phases are not detected while SnO2 and SnO phases appear. Finally, in the last studied sample, only SnO2 phase is detected. The surface analyses of these samples by XPS show that, for most of them an unique chemical species (Sn4+) is found.


Tin oxides corrosion process XPS REELS GIXRD Ancient mirrors 


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Copyright information

© © Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. K. Herrera
    • 1
  • A. Duran
    • 2
  • M. L. Franquelo
    • 1
  • A. R. González-Elipe
    • 1
  • J. P. Espinós
    • 1
  • J. Rubio-Zuazo
    • 3
  • G. R. Castro
    • 3
  • A. Justo
    • 1
  • J. L. Perez-Rodriguez
    • 1
  1. 1.Materials Science Institute of Seville (CSIC-US)SevilleSpain
  2. 2.Centre for Research and Restoration of the Museums of France — CNRSParisFrance
  3. 3.Spanish CRG beamline SpLine at the ESRFGrenobleFrance

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