Photoageing of Baltic amber - Influence of daylight radiation behind window glass on surface colour and chemistry

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to provide evidence about the interaction between Baltic amber and daylight behind window glass, essential to understanding the mechanisms by which the material degrades in museum environments and to propose techniques for preventive conservation based on the control of environmental parameters where amber objects are stored or displayed. To investigate the photodegradation of Baltic amber, the methodology consisted of artificial ageing, in order to initiate degradation of model amber samples, and non-destructive analytical techniques, in order to identify and quantify changes in colour and chemical properties. Prism-shaped samples, obtained from a large amber piece, were exposed to different microclimatic conditions, subjected to accelerated photoageing and analysed by spectrocolorimetry, infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy. The experiments provided results about surface discolouration, oxidation of the molecular structure and breakdown of unsaturated carbon-carbon bonds in various environmental conditions, confirming the degrading role of daylight behind window glass. The conclusions of this study can be applied to the development of techniques for preventive conservation of museum collections containing amber objects.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolymer Degradation and Stability
Volume96
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1996-2001
Number of pages12
ISSN0141-3910
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • Baltic amber
  • light
  • radiation
  • FTIR spectroscopy
  • degradation
  • conservation

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