Coming Around the Final Turn

Greetings once more from the ISC. Things in the lab have been moving forward, if rather slowly in some cases. We have been facing the inevitable issue of bottle-necking in terms of making use of the two magnets we have in our lab, for there are multiple projects which need to collect data. On top of that, we have recently discovered that the lift which allows us the vary the depths at which we are measuring during a single experiment has not been moving in accordance to the distances it is given in the software, which has slowed down all data collection as we work to correct or at ┬áleast better understand the issue. Nonetheless work progresses on the paint cleaning front. The samples which were assigned the isopropanol treatments have continued to be treated with the swab and gel techniques respectively. The double peak phenomenon exhibited by the sample which is swabbed with isopropanol could potentially be a result of isopropanol’s rapid evaporation rate, causing a peak to be observed where paint had swelled as normal, and another peak due to some isopropanol which has been trapped in the sample. The samples will continue to be treated on a regular basis and perhaps the next measurement will bring even more insight about the two peaks exhibited by the plain isopropanol.

Another point of focus these past two weeks has been revisiting the samples we have been treating since early spring with methoxypropanol using both the swab and gel treatment. We wanted to compare the physical state of the samples as they are now to their state before we began treating them on a weekly basis. A profile of each sample was made without treating them with solvent and this data was compared to the dry profile taken from each sample before the first solvent treatments. It was observed that there was a higher T2, which is to be expected as the introduction of solvent works to swell the paint film and make the paint slightly more mobile. The observed signal showed little variation in amplitude from the first measurement in the spring to the measurements made this past week, which is a good indicator that no solvent residue has been left on the surface of the painting due either to the swab or the gel method. This is promising as it gives an early indication that there is no difference in the long term effects of the swab or gel method of application of solvent which is something we hoped to observe in addition to the lesser penetration of the gel technique. One set of data from one solvent is not enough to conclude anything, but the data show that we are moving in the right direction and that is encouraging.

With only two weeks left to conduct research for this summer, it becomes the time when data and figures are polished and reports are being drawn together to summarize what has been achieved. Data and measurements will continue to be taken as the samples are still being treated, but I look forward to pooling together what we have observed and piecing together an idea of what has been going on physically with our samples and moving towards substantiating the validity of the gel technique as a sound method of solvent application.