Study on the impregnation of archaeological waterlogged wood with consolidation treatments using synchrotron radiation microtomography
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry. - Berlin, 2002, currens
, p. 1977-1985
University of Antwerp
In favourable conditions of low temperature and low oxygen concentration, archaeological waterlogged wooden artefacts, such as shipwrecks, can survive with a good state of preservation. Nevertheless, anaerobic bacteria can considerably degrade waterlogged wooden objects with a significant loss in polysaccharidic components. Due to these decay processes, wood porosity and water content increase under ageing. In such conditions, the conservation treatments of archaeological wooden artefacts often involve the replacement of water with substances which fill the cavities and help to prevent collapse and stress during drying. The treatments are very often expensive and technically difficult, and their effectiveness very much depends on the chemical and physical characteristics of the substances used for impregnation. Also important are the degree of cavity-filling, penetration depth and distribution in the structure of the wood. In this study, the distribution in wood cavities of some mixtures based on polyethylene glycols and colophony, used for the conservation of waterlogged archaeological wood, was investigated using synchrotron radiation X-ray computed microtomography (SR-A mu CT). This non-destructive imaging technique was useful for the study of the degraded waterlogged wood and enabled us to visualise the morphology of the wood and the distribution of the materials used in the wood treatments. The study has shown how deposition is strictly related to the dimension of the wooden cavities. The work is currently proceeding with the comparison of synchrotron observations with the data of the solutions viscosity and with those of the properties imparted to the wood by the treatments.