JAIC 1994, Volume 33, Number 3, Article 4 (pp. 279 to 299)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1994, Volume 33, Number 3, Article 4 (pp. 279 to 299)

PHYSICAL AND MECHANICAL PROPERTIES OF ALBUMEN PHOTOGRAPHS

TIMOTHY VITALE, & PAUL MESSIER


ABSTRACT—Fundamental physical and mechanical properties of albumen photographs were studied with the goal of explaining the tendency for pre-existing cracks in the albumen layer to increase in number and width when exposed to water. Samples were taken from the following materials: historical 19th-century albumen prints, unsized cotton paper, albumen prints made by the authors for the purpose of the study, albumen/paper composites, and “bars” made by casting albumen in silicone grease troughs. The samples were subjected to a variety of tests, including stress-strain analysis, ultrasonic impediometry, and measuring before, during, and after exposure to humidity. The various materials that make up an albumen photograph respond differently to changes in relative humidity, leading to problems between the components. Care should be taken when treating albumen prints with either water or water vapor, and the conditions under which the prints are stored should be carefully considered.

Article Sections:

1. INTRODUCTION
2. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN
3. RESULTS
4. DISCUSSION
5. SUMMARY OF MECHANICAL AND PHYSICAL RESULTS
6. CONCLUSIONS
a: References , Author Information
Entire Article

Copyright 1994 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works