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frozen pva

It's not likely that your pva-adhered books will
freeze and shatter in cold weather.  As others have
thoughtfully explained, freezing is a concern for the
possible separation of water molecules in the glue
solution, not the glue solid after the water
evaporates (glue dries).  Loss in flexibility for
PVA's over time is usually due to the loss of
plasticizer (small mobile molecules) from the solid.
The known instances where glue has been observed to
fail at very low temperatures comes from investigation
into vacuum-freeze drying disaster recovery efforts,
where conditions are extreme and unusual.  I would be
happy to provide the reference upon request.  That
being said, I would advise using an "archival"
copolymer from a dependable supplier, and letting your
books dry completely (at least 24-48 hrs, depending on
your local humidity and whether or not you have added
any other components to your glue solution) before
popping them in the mail.  If you are sending books to
an extreme climate (North Pole) and suspect that it
will spend a significant amount of time in a cold
shipping environment, advise your client to let the
book rest 24-48 hrs before they use it, in the room
where they will be using it, to let it acclimate to
the conditions there.

Nora Lockshin, Book Conservator

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