JAIC 2002, Volume 41, Number 1, Article 4 (pp. 43 to 60)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 2002, Volume 41, Number 1, Article 4 (pp. 43 to 60)

THE SWELLING OF ARTISTS' PAINTS IN ORGANIC SOLVENTS. PART 1, A SIMPLE METHOD FOR MEASURING THE IN-PLANE SWELLING OF UNSUPPORTED PAINT FILMS

ALAN PHENIX



5 SUMMARY

It has been demonstrated that the method proposed here, although very simple in essence, can provide a valid means of comparing the swelling response of a given paint film in a range of organic solvents. Uncertainty in the measured swelling response derives from a number of factors related both to the measurement process and to the variability in behavior of individual paint fragments. The latter element is by far the greatest contributor to experimental uncertainty. It has been shown that by careful selection of sample material, by control of the experimental process, and by using multiple samples of the same paint type, uncertainty can be reduced to acceptable levels so that the method is able to discriminate the different swelling powers of solvents, at least on young-mature paint films.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This work was commenced during a period of secondment to the MOLART (Molecular Aspects of Aging in Painted Works of Art) project, a Prioriteit research program funded by the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and organized by the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter, Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics (FOM-AMOLF), Amsterdam. I gratefully acknowledge the support of the Courtauld Institute of Art for facilitating this period of secondment. The work could not have been undertaken without the equipment acquired with the aid of a grant from the Research Committee of the Courtauld Institute of Art. Special thanks must also go to Tom Bilson of the Courtauld Institute of Art for assistance with the digital imaging and analysis and to Ken Sutherland for his gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy work on the samples that form the subject of this article. I am indebted to Steen Sauerberg, University of Copenhagen, without whom this work would not have seen the light of day.


Copyright 2002 American Institution for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works