Understanding microcrystalline waxes for the seismic protection of art objects

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Title: Understanding microcrystalline waxes for the seismic protection of art objects
Authors: Crowley, Anne
Laefer, Debra F.
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/3427
Date: 2008
Abstract: Use of microcrystalline waxes for the protection of ceramic art objects from seismic events is an inexpensive and relatively popular technique. This paper presents performance results for three commercial, microcrystalline waxes based on anchoring requirements of resisting seismic-induced tensile and shear forces, while exhibiting a ductile failure mode to prevent objects from suddenly detaching themselves from their display units and becoming sufficiently mobile to fall off stands or collide with other art objects. As many of the testing techniques described in this paper are not easily accessible to the average museum conservator, and some of the products may not be readily available, emphasis is placed on establishing an expected range of strengths, and correlations are suggested for predicting the general performance of any microcrystalline wax in a specific application arrangement, based on easily performed, simplified tests that were found to be able to predict tensile capacity within 10%. Distinctive performance trends were found amongst various products with capacity being as much as 183 kPa in tension and 42kPas in shear. The pre-application of a methylacrylate copolymer to the bonding surface consistently improved performance, while increasing wax thickness did not.
Funding Details: Other funder
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC)
Copyright (published version): 2008 American Institution for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works
Keywords: Microcrystalline wax;Seismic protection;Art objects
Subject LCSH: Cushioning materials--Evaluation
Museum conservation methods
Art objects--Conservation and restoration
Earthquake damage--Prevention
Waxes--Testing
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Critical Infrastructure Group Research Collection
Civil Engineering Research Collection

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