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Publication Detail
Plasticiser loss in heritage collections: its prevalence, cause, effect, and methods for analysis
© 2020, The Author(s). Plasticiser loss is a topic frequently mentioned in discussions on the degradation of plastic artefacts in museum collections, particularly for plasticised poly (vinyl chloride) and cellulose acetate. Plasticisers may migrate to the plastic’s surface and remain as a deposit, or volatilise into the surrounding environment, both presenting an aesthetic issue and impacting the future stability of the plastic. This paper draws on the work of conservation science, materials degradation, and indoor air quality/emissions studies, to review our current understanding of plasticiser loss. The influence of the material’s intrinsic properties, and environmental factors on migration rates are discussed and related to preventive conservation practices. The methods by which plasticiser migration is studied, including characterisation, are also reviewed, with a particular focus on minimally invasive and non-destructive methods suitable for heritage science research.
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