Quality matters for historical plastics: the past-making of cellulose nitrates for future preservation

Quye, A. (2017) Quality matters for historical plastics: the past-making of cellulose nitrates for future preservation. In: Teissier, P., Mody, C. C.M. and Van Tiggelen, B. (eds.) From Bench to Brand and Back: The Co-Shaping of Materials and Chemists in the Twentieth Century. Cahiers François Viète, pp. 45-68. ISBN 9782869392443

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Publisher's URL: http://www.cfv.univ-nantes.fr/cahiers-francois-viete-serie-iii-n-2-1536291.kjsp

Abstract

The material loss of an historical artefact through chemical breakdown may place the object at the end of its useful heritage ‘life’ in terms of aesthetic value and appearance. But all is not lost in the ephemeral world of historical synthetic plastics. Analytical chemical studies of degraded cellulose nitrate artifacts have unlocked material clues that not only help explain stability variations to guide collection care and preservation, but also bring insight into past manufacturing materials, methods and quality control during production. Translating the industrial materials of a degrading artifact by understanding its past to inform its future can revive it with a new cultural significance, and engages heritage scientists, historians and conservators in an innovative community of complementary history of science.

Item Type:Book Sections
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Quye, Dr Anita
Authors: Quye, A.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Publisher:Cahiers François Viète
ISBN:9782869392443
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Cahiers François Viète
First Published:First published in From Bench to Brand and Back: The Co-Shaping of Materials and Chemists in the Twentieth Century: 45-68
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the publisher
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