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Sunday, May 15 • 4:00pm - 4:30pm
(Photographic Materials & Research and Technical Studies) Characterizing RC Papers and Testing Adhesives Suitable for Their Hinging

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For more than two decades, starting in the 1960s when they were first introduced, resin coated (RC) photographs have had a variety of flaws affecting the long term preservation of the different components. Today however, this paper type has fewer defects and has become widespread, particularly with the development of RC type papers for digital printing. The acquisition and display of these prints is now well established in museums that collect and exhibit contemporary art, however there remains a need for their safe and effective mounting. This research focusses on 8 name brand RC papers that are currently available in the US and one historic paper by Kodak from ca. 1978. ATR-FTIR data was collected from the recto using both diamond and germanium crystals to sample the coating at different depths. Results indicate the historic paper is coated with unmodified polyethylene while the modern papers range from the same non-polar polyethylene resin to more polar surfaces, likely via surface oxidization. A polar surface is intentional and designed primarily to improve the wetting and bonding of ink onto the surface but will also influence a tape’s ability to adhere. In this regard, tapes are being studied for shear and peel strength using conditions that approximate the load of the largest prints that might be exhibited. The shear mode findings are good for most of the adhesives tested, including wheat starch paste and methyl cellulose, but in peel mode - the Achilles’ heel for thermoplastic adhesives - tapes fail more rapidly or show signs of creep. This suggests that if the latter mode can be avoided in the hinge design, adhesives that are more easily reversible on demand could be utilized for any of the papers tested. In addition to ATR-FTIR studies, characterization of versos by tactile feel, optical surface roughness, and simplified aqueous contact angle measurements will be discussed in the context of adhesion.

avatar for Chris McGlinchey

Chris McGlinchey

Conservation Scientist, Museum of Modern Art
Chris joined the Museum of Modern Art in 1999 to setup the science section of the conservation department. Prior to that he worked in the paintings conservation department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where he assisted with technical analysis of the collection and the development... Read More →

avatar for Lee Ann Daffner

Lee Ann Daffner

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Conservator of Photographs, The Museum of Modern Art
Lee Ann Daffner is the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Conservator of Photographs at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City since 1998 and is responsible for all aspects of the preservation, conservation and materials research for photographs in all the Museum’s collections... Read More →

Roberta Piantavigna

Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Conservation of Photographs, The Museum of Modern Art

Sunday May 15, 2016 4:00pm - 4:30pm EDT
Room 516 CD