ENEA has developed innovative techniques to assess the state of conservation of old books.

ENEA has developed innovative techniques to assess the state of conservation of old books.
ENEA has developed innovative techniques to assess the state of conservation of old books.

by Redazione, published on 06/14/2024
Categories: News / Disclaimer

The ENEA laboratory has developed non-destructive and non-invasive techniques to assess the state of conservation of old books and the effectiveness of cleaning treatments adopted by restorers.

LENEA has developed a diagnostic protocol allowingquickly evaluate and of non-invasive way L’state of conservation of old books and the effectiveness of cleaning treatments adopted by restaurateurs. This diagnostic protocol has been used by researchers to analyze the impact of various ecological cleaning processes. These methods of ecological cleaning include the application ofhydrogels, non-aggressive and non-toxic chemicals, and direct irradiation treatments using radiation in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) spectral range, without the need to pre-treat the sample. In addition, treatments combining hydrogel and UV radiation have been tested.

“Our methodology involves the use of two non-destructive and non-invasive techniques – Raman spectrometry and optical microscopy – which, without any material sampling, allow us to obtain information on the morphological and compositional characteristics of the paper, the one of the most widespread and fragile materials of historical and documentary interest,” explains the researcher. Paper is one of the most widespread and fragile materials,” explains Sabina Bottiresearcher at ENEA Laboratory of Micro and Nanostructures for Photonicsfirst author of the study published in the journal Molecules and carried out with his colleague Francesca Bonfigli and his colleagues Luca Mezi And Francesco Flora from the Laboratory of Plasma Applications and Interdisciplinary Experiments of the ENEA Research Center in Frascati.

“To slow down the degradation of paper and restore the quality of library heritage,” emphasizes Sabina Botti, “various cleaning treatments have been developed to eliminate external contaminants and products of oxidation and decomposition of paper. The problem is that not all of them preserve the unique characteristics of old goods over time. “To study the state of health of the paper before and after treatment, underlines the ENEA researcher, we used Raman spectroscopy, a very effective analysis technique which uses light to study the chemical composition of the materials, on paper samples dating from the end of the 19th century. It turned out to be an appropriate tool for defining the type of degradation but also for evaluating the effectiveness of cleaning treatments”.

“Among the different treatments analyzed, we found that the hydrogel has a good cleaning action: once applied to the paper, it is able to capture and eliminate degradation products and contaminants that may be present there, such as such as starch, gum arabic, animal glues and gelatin. EUV irradiation, in addition to the cleaning action of fungal species, produces an increase in the crystallinity index of the paper, that is, a consolidation of the irradiated paper sample and a greater capacity to resist oxidation and aging process,” concludes the researcher.

ENEA has developed innovative techniques to assess the state of conservation of old books.

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