JAIC 1994, Volume 33, Number 1, Article 4 (pp. 47 to 53)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1994, Volume 33, Number 1, Article 4 (pp. 47 to 53)

TWO TESTS FOR THE DETECTION OF VOLATILE ORGANIC ACIDS AND FORMALDEHYDE

JINPING ZHANG, DAVID THICKETT, & LORNA GREEN


ABSTRACT—The iodide-iodate test for the detection of volatile organic acids and the chromotropic acid test for the detection of formaldehyde have been evaluated for use in the selection of materials for the storage and display of antiquities. At present the “Oddy test” with lead is used to identify those materials that have the potential to corrode lead. Since the volatile organic acids and formaldehyde that corrode lead can also affect other materials, the test is also used as an indicator of the evolution of these gases. A comparison with the Oddy test with lead has shown that the chromotropic acid test is more sensitive than the Oddy test and may detect formaldehyde at a level that is unlikely to cause corrosion. The iodide-iodate test and chromotropic acid test take approximately 2 hours to perform compared with 28 days for the Oddy test. The combined use of the iodide-iodate test and the chromotropic acid test has been shown to be a good indicator of the suitability of a material for use in the storage and display of antiquities that are susceptible to volatile organic acids and formaldehyde. However, as the Oddy test is a broader indicator of corrosive gases, its use is recommended when time permits.

Article Sections:

1. INTRODUCTION
2. THE IODIDE-IODATE TEST FOR VOLATILE ORGANIC ACIDS
3. THE CHROMOTROPIC ACID TEST FOR FORMALDEHYDE
4. COMPARISON OF THE IODIDE-IODATE AND CHROMOTROPIC ACID TESTS WITH THE ODDY TEST
5. CONCLUSIONS
6. HEALTH AND SAFETY DATA
a: Materials , References , Author Information
Entire Article

Copyright 1994 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works