THE USE OF POLYTETRAFLUOROETHYLENE (PTFE) FILM FOR STORAGE SUPPORTS
NANCY ODEGAARD, MATTHEW CRAWFORD, & WERNER ZIMMT
PTFE film may be applied as a barrier or cover for otherwise problematic storage materials. PTFE pipe thread sealant (in a thin ribbon form) is often referred to simply as plumber's tape or Teflon tape. In this form, the tape has been used in conservation as a nonabrasive wrap for isolating overlapping or fitted elements and as a isolating membrane between objects and fills.
Recently, the conservation lab at the Arizona State Museum (ASM) has adapted wide-format PTFE film for systematic rehousing projects involving large numbers of artifacts. The availability of wider rolls of the film, which can cover larger areas, has made the product useful as a protective, nonabrasive, flexible cover for storage supports. Its shape-conforming and cohesive characteristics are well suited to complex support shapes. The film does not exhibit the creases and tenting associated with thicker, less malleable films or fabrics. PTFE film has been used in several artifact rehousing projects at ASM, including support cradles for kachina dolls, storage of Roman glass, and rehousing for fragile or sensitive organic artifacts from the archaeological collection.