The Price of Pristine PMMA

Yvonne Shashoua, Tim Bechthold (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Many publications by conservation professionals describe visual assessment as the primary evaluation technique for cleaning.  This may be due to the lack of analytical  equipment available in museums, the speed and simplicity of visual examination or to the great importance of appearance of museum objects.   Although it is relatively simple to examine surfaces by eye, it is complex to convey the results to others and it is unlikely that two, independent evaluators can achieve identical results.  Optical microscopy provides qualitative results concerning the intensity and density of scratches induced when cleaning and the presence of residues left by cleaning agents.  Gloss measurements are relatively easy to perform and provide information about the presence of any physical changes to surfaces.  However, when examining transparent plastics, measurements  are disturbed by the multiple reflections within the bulk of material. Contact angles are relatively easy to  perform and show changes in surfaces often before they can be detected by eye or optical microscopy. Contact angles relate to the type of change including the introduction of residues or of scratches, although it is not simple to attribute causes. Contact angle measurements can offer a reproducible and quantitative alternative to visual appearance for conservation professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventFuture Talks 009 The Conservation of Modern Materials in Applied Arts and Design - Munich, Germany
Duration: 22 Oct 200923 Oct 2009


ConferenceFuture Talks 009 The Conservation of Modern Materials in Applied Arts and Design


  • cleaning PMMA optical microscopy
  • contact angle
  • microfiber cloth
  • scratch

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