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Subject: Effects of X-rays on materials

Effects of X-rays on materials

From: Sonia Alice O'Connor <s.oconnor<-a>
Date: Monday, December 8, 2008
Susan Braovac <susan.braovac [at] khm__uio__no> writes

>At the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, we use x-rays
>to document both organic and inorganic finds.  Over the years I have
>often wondered about the effects of x-rays (which are in fact a form
>of very high energy) on materials and whether this method of
>documentation is really as non-destructive as it is often claimed to
>be.

I looked into what facts and myths I could find on this topic when I
was developing the field of textile radiography with Mary M. Brooks
from the Textile Conservation Centre, University of Southampton. You
will find a paper on the topic by myself and Jason Maher (Assessing
the risks of X-radiography to textiles pages 91-94) in the book

    O'Connor S and Brooks M. M., 2007.
    X-radiography of Textiles, Dress and Related Objects. Oxford;
    Elsevier.

Although this paper was prompted by the need to assess the risks for
textiles we also review the literature for a wide range of cultural
materials and consider evidence relating to colour, dating, and DNA.
This was followed by experimental work on silk textiles which was
published in the paper

    Garside P. and O'Connor S. 2007.
    Assessing the risks of radiographing culturally significant
    textiles.
    'E-Preservation Science' 4: 1-7
    <URL:http://www.morana-rtd.com/
        e-preservationscience/2007/Garside-20-03-07.pdf>

    **** Moderator's comments: The above URL has been wrapped for
    email. There should be no newline.

If you come across any other references on the topic or recorded but
unpublished evidence, I would be delighted to know.

Dr Sonia O'Connor FIIC ACR
Research Fellow in Conservation
Archaeological Sciences
Division of AGES
University of Bradford
Bradford
West Yorkshire BD7 1DP
+44 1274 236498 (office)
+44 1274 235210 (lab.)
Fax: +44 1274 235190


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