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An Investigation of the Feasibility of the Use of Gels and Emulsions in Cleaning of Gilded Wooden Surfaces. Part B: Cleaning of Soiled Oil-Gilding

  • Malgorzata SawickiEmail author
  • Emma Rouse
  • Sofia Lo Bianco
  • Seela Kautto
Chapter
Part of the Cultural Heritage Science book series (CUHESC)

Abstract

Experimental testing of various rigid gels and emulsions for removing soiling from gilded wooden surfaces were conducted using two nineteenth c. gilded frames. The gels and emulsions were selected according to their characteristics described in the conservation literature and involved Agar gels, Gellan gels, Xanthan gels, and PVOH-borax gel as well as low viscosity emulsions based on Pemulen TR2, with TAC and EDTA and with varied pH values. Two case studies have shown that hydrogels based on Agar and Gellan gum as well as Pemulen TR2 emulsions can be successfully used in the removal of soiling from gilded wooden surfaces, however each of the cleaning systems needs to be utilised with full understanding of the potential risk to the gilded surface. The option to increase the rigidity of gels can address one of the longstanding challenges of aqueous cleaning methods for gilded surfaces; that is the rate of water diffusion into the gilding’s foundation layers. The rigid gels proved to be a good vehicle to deliver the chelating agents for removal of soiling from oil gilding, offering surface contact without diffusion into underlying layers. These methods can also decrease contact time between cleaning agents and the gilded surface, thus providing better control of treatments as well as reducing the needs for agitation of the gilded surface with cotton swabs. Low viscosity Pemulen TR2 emulsions provide similar opportunity without the need for repetitive clearing. Further testing is essential to obtain a better understanding and confidence in the working abilities of gel and emulsion systems for the cleaning of gilded wood.

Keywords

Gilding Gilded wood Frames Surface cleaning Laser cleaning Agar gel Gellan gum gel PVOH-borax gel Xanthan gel Pemulen TR2 emulsions 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malgorzata Sawicki
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emma Rouse
    • 1
  • Sofia Lo Bianco
    • 1
  • Seela Kautto
    • 2
  1. 1.Art Gallery of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Culture/Degree Programme in ConservationHelsinki Metropolia University of Applied SciencesHelsinkiFinland

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