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Mechanical and Moisture Sorption Properties of Commercial Artists’ Oil Paint by Dynamic Mechanical Thermal Analysis (DMA), Nanoindentation, and Dynamic Vapour Sorption (DVS)

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Conservation of Modern Oil Paintings

Abstract

This study examined the physical/mechanical properties of selected artists’ oil paints. Samples included paint outs of pure paint as well as samples paints that have been modified. Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and nanoindentation were used to investigate mechanical properties. DMA tests indicated appreciable differences in glass transition temperature (Tg) within each sample set. The effect of the paint modifications could be observed in terms of changes in the glass transition temperatures. Carried out at ambient temperature and controlled relative humidity conditions, the nanoindentation testing included determination of modulus values, before and after 24 h immersion in aliphatic hydrocarbon solvent, of the underside surfaces of yellow ochre and cadmium yellow paint samples. The ultramarine oil paint sample tested by nanoindentation at different relative humidities showed that the paint softened significantly by sorption of water, indicating vulnerability to permanent deformation at high moisture levels. Moisture sorption isotherms confirmed significant increases in water uptake above 60% relative humidity, especially for ultramarine. These results explain why conservators experience very different effects of temperature and moisture-based treatments.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Test paint film of Grumbacher Burnt Sienna (linseed oil binder) prepared in 1978 by M. Mecklenburg.

  2. 2.

    See Sect. 32.2.2 for instrumental details of DMA. Theoretical and experimental treatments of viscoelasticity have derived vector-based descriptors of mechanical properties in terms of complex modulus (E∗), storage or elastic modulus (E’), and viscous or loss modulus (E”), where E∗ = E’ + iE”. Usually this relationship is expressed as G∗ = G’ + iG” where the G terms represent the corresponding shear moduli of the material. A further useful parameter, tan δ, is the ratio G”/G’ [5]. The most common DMA test is a thermal scan during which changes in the parameters of G’, G” and tan δ are measured as the temperature is increased at a set rate. The temperature at which any thermal transition occurs will depend on the frequency of the applied periodic stress. Conventionally, the temperature at the peak in the tan δ trace at 1 Hz is taken as the Tg of polymers ([4, 6]: 509). A comprehensive critical overview of the determination of Tg using DMA is provided by [2].

  3. 3.

    http://www.perkinelmer.com/product/dma-8000-analyzer-qtz-window-ssti-clamp-n5330101t

  4. 4.

    In all the time-temperature DMA scans reported in this study, the 10Hz δ maxima were at higher temperatures than the corresponding 1Hz data, which confirms this is the glass transition.

  5. 5.

    Er′ can be calculated by:

    $$ {E_r}^{\prime }=\frac{\sqrt{\pi }}{2}\frac{1}{\beta}\frac{1}{\sqrt{A_{\mathrm{p}}}}\;\frac{P_0}{h_0}\cos \delta $$

    where β is a geometric factor of the indenter tip, Ap is the projected contact area, δ is the phase shift, P0 is the amplitude of harmonic load, and h0 is the amplitude of harmonic displacement.

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Acknowledgements

This project received support from Heritage Plus, a Joint Programming Initiative of the European Commission and the Getty Conservation Institute.

The authors also wish to thank Lise Steyn, Bronwyn Ormsby, Klaas Jan van den Berg, Mikkel Scharff, Jørgen Wadum, Tom Learner, Ilaria Bonaduce, Aviva Burnstock, and Marion F. Mecklenburg.

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Correspondence to Cecil Krarup Andersen .

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Andersen, C.K., Freeman, A., Mortensen, M.N., Beltran, V., Łukomski, M., Phenix, A. (2019). Mechanical and Moisture Sorption Properties of Commercial Artists’ Oil Paint by Dynamic Mechanical Thermal Analysis (DMA), Nanoindentation, and Dynamic Vapour Sorption (DVS). In: van den Berg, K., et al. Conservation of Modern Oil Paintings. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-19254-9_32

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