Investigation of ATR-FTIR spectroscopy as an alternative to the Water Leach Free Acidity test for cellulose acetate-based film

Karin Bonde Johansen, Yvonne Shashoua

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Cellulose acetate film loses acetate groups on ageing which results in the formation of damaging acetic acid. Water-Leach Free Acidity Test (WLFAT) is the definitive technique to quantify acidity, but requires 1g film and 26 hours. ATR-FTIR spectroscopy is a non-destructive, rapid technique which was used to relate the concentration of C=O groups lost during deacetylation to the concentration of reference C-H groups. Comparison of WLFAT and ATR-FTIR showed similar trends in deterioration rate of new, slightly- and highly degraded films. Both techniques were equally effective at quantifying the degradation of film, though ATR-FTIR could not quantify onset of autocatalysis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Council of Museums-Conservation Committee 14th Triennial Meeting 2005 The Hague
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherJames & James
Publication date4 Sept 2005
ISBN (Print)1-84407-253-3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2005


  • deacetylation vinegar-syndrome Water-Leach Free Acidity Test ATR-FTIR film cellulose acetate

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