Radiation technology for the conservation and consolidation of contemporary and ancient cultural heritages

Posted on Mon, 06/25/2018 - 15:47
The preservation of world cultural heritage is a key issue for maintaining national identity and understanding the exchanges among civilizations throughout history. Cultural heritage artefacts that are based on paper, textiles or wood are prone to biological attack under improper conservation conditions. The application of ionizing radiation for the disinfection of cultural heritage artefacts has been successfully demonstrated in recent years, with the participation of museums and libraries. The wider use of this technique requires conclusively establishing that radiation technology does not lead to unacceptable changes in the functional or decorative properties of the artefact and that its authenticity is not compromised. Radiation technology is widely and succesfully used in the field of environment, healthcare, medicine, polymer, agriculture and food industry as well as disinfection, consolidation and characterization of cultural heritages. As it is well known, the most important factor on the deterioration of cultural heritages is the growth of insects and fungi due to the improper storage and exhibition conditions. Radiation is widely used and accepted a technique that treats both biodeteriorator agents simultaneously. It has so many advanteges against to alternative treatment techniques, when the neccessary lethal or sterility dose applied. However, each material has its own resistance and behaviour against to radiation. Therefore a special attention must be paid to prevent the chemical and physical deformation. Before the application of radiation, all physical and chemical properties have to be clearly identified and then must be demonstrated that the validated absorbed dose for disinfection of insects and fungi does not affect both properties. After this observation, radiation treatment has to be implemented. It is good to know that a great progress in the field of the cultural heritage protection has been observed by the application of radiation technology during last 15-20 years. Its rapidity and reliability provides a great advantage over conventional methods. Each country has a great cultural heritage collections. Restoration and conservation of paper documents, archives, books, leather, textile and wood pieces in the museums, archives and libraries are quite important. Although treatment of this kind of materials is done with conventional methods, those methods are very slow and difficult process makes it impossible to protect the millions of contaminated cultural heritages. In a study of conservation or consolidation by radiation technology; first insect and fungi species are identified and then the required dose for the disinfection is determined in the application of radiation technology. Then, the effect of radiation on the material under validated dose is determined like the change of physical and chemical properties. After the determination of short and long term effects of radiation on the cultural heritages, radiation processing is applied and first phase of the treatment process namely disinfection is completed. In the second phase of the treatment, consolidation process is applied to cultural heritages. First, a proper and its stability proven polymer solution is applied by spreading up to surface or is impregnated by using the immersion or vacuum-pressure techniques. After this process, polymer solution is cured or crosslinked by radiation processing. So those cultural heritages would be brought back to cultural treasure of the country.