Correlating Additives to Deterioration and Assessing the Effectiveness of Acrylic Coatings for the Protection of Rubber

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Lafrance, Jessica
Rubber , Acrylic Varnish , Varnish , Preventative , Rubber Deterioration , Treatment , Rubber Object , Conservation , Rubber Treatment , Rubber Research , Natural Rubber , Acrylic Coatings
Conservators have long been aware of the problems associated with the preservation of rubber objects due to inherent instability that can be attributed, in part, to the presence of additives. Inorganic additives, such as fillers, accelerators, stabilizers, and special ingredients are necessary in manufacturing to alter the properties of natural rubber. These materials all have different interactions with the rubber, and each other, and differing effects on the ageing process. To date, the most effective and accepted methods to preserve rubber are cold, dark storage of objects, or the use of low oxygen environments. While these methods are effective, they greatly limit access. The application of coatings to the surface of rubber objects can slow deterioration and greatly increase the ability of an institution to handle and display rubber objects. While numerous coatings for preventive and interventive treatment have been tested, none have been so successful to warrant routine use. The first section of this research highlighted the relationship between the inclusion of certain additives in natural rubber objects and the accelerated or slowed down overall degradation. In the second part of this research, the acrylic varnishes Golden Polymer Varnish with UVLS, Lascaux Acrylic Transparent Varnish-UV, Sennelier Matte Lacquer with UV Protection, and Liquitex Soluvar Varnish containing ultraviolet light absorbers or stabilizers were tested as a preventative coating for rubber. Through testing the visual and physical properties of the samples, as well as compound analysis the results of this research suggest that acrylic varnishes do provide protection, each to varying degrees. The results also provided insight into the behavior of rubber and these varnishes with continuing light exposure.
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