THE RETENTION OF ORGANIC SOLVENTS IN PAPER
J. S. Arney, & L. B. Pollack
THERE HAVE BEEN REPORTS in the conservation literature that suggest the rate of aging of some papers may be accelerated by treatment with organic solvents. For example, Eirk1 reported that the degree of degradation of an old ledger paper after five days at 98–99°C (50% RH) was increased by bathing the paper in organic solvents. Moreover, Wächter,2 in a review of some early work by Staudinger,3,4 suggested that the treatment of a paper with an organic solvent might result in the formation of a permanent cellulose-solvent complex. According to Wächter, the formation of such a complex might increase the reactivity of the paper and accelerate its rate of aging. Whether, in fact, solvent treatment will accelerate paper aging has not been established, but the importance of solvents in the practice of conservation has prompted our investigation of some of the interactions between paper and solvents. The results of this investigation suggest that organic solvents are not permanently retained in cellulose under ordinary conditions and, therefore although there may be hazardous aspects to the use of solvents on paper, solvent retention alone cannot be regarded as potentially harmful.