Performance expectations for microcrystalline waxes for the seismic protection of art objects

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Title: Performance expectations for microcrystalline waxes for the seismic protection of art objects
Authors: Crowley, Anne
Laefer, Debra F.
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Date: May-2006
Abstract: Use of microcrystalline waxes for the protection of ceramic art objects from seismic events is an inexpensive and relatively popular technique in museum exhibition practice (Fig. 1). Unfortunately, because of the high porosity of some ceramics and the fragility of their glazes and paints, the surface of many art objects may be vulnerable to damage from the microcrystalline wax application. Thus, a conservative approach is needed—applying only as much as is actually required to resist predicted levels of ground motion and transmitted forces caused by an earthquake movement. Determining the appropriate and most effective quantity of wax as well as verifying the best application technique (e.g., hot versus cold) is not clearly established by either industrial standards, museum conservation standards or product-oriented guidance. How much wax to use for specific sizes and weights of objects is left to a matter of empirical knowledge, judgment and a good deal of guess work. While sometimes reliable these approaches can lead to the ap-plication of a greater amount of wax being used than needed (resulting unnecessary risk to the object) or too little wax with respect to the object’s mass and the anticipated earth-quake threat (leading to an increase in the potential for). This ongoing study has begun to develop some performance expectations for microcrystalline waxes and suggests a number of application guidelines, based on chemical micro-structure and physical.
Funding Details: Other funder
Type of material: Conference Publication
Publisher: Getty Publications
Keywords: Microcrystalline waxSeismic protectionArt objectsDamageGround motion
Subject LCSH: Cushioning materials--Evaluation
Museum conservation methods
Art objects--Conservation and restoration
Earthquake damage--Prevention
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Is part of: Podany, J. (ed.). Advances in the Protection of Museum Collections from Earthquake Damage : Papers from a Symposium Held at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Villa on May 3-4, 2006
Conference Details: Paper presented at a symposium on Advances in the Protection of Museum Collections from Earthquake Damage, May 3-4, 2006, J. Paul Getty Museum, California
Appears in Collections:Urban Institute Ireland Research Collection
Critical Infrastructure Group Research Collection
Civil Engineering Research Collection

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