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A comparative study on surface treatments in conservation of dry leather, with focus on silicone oil.

By Lena Ludwick


In the museums, private collections and historical houses, there is a wealth of leather artifacts, in various need of conservation. The treatment options, however, are few, and all with their drawbacks. This thesis aims to evaluate silicone oil as a surface treatment for dry leather, in comparison to two other treatments, Klucel G and British Museum leather dressing (BML). The study shows that the silicone oil treatment yields satisfactory results, and the literature and previous studies have indicated superior long term characteristics. Klucel G gave less than satisfactory results, but has better long term characteristics than the BML, though the BML also had satisfactory direct results. The chemical composition, tanning and deterioration of leather are also described The properties and chemical composition of the silicone oil treatment are reviewed and discussed. The treatment consists of three components: the silicone oil, a cross-linker and a catalyst. They create an internal scaffolding in the cell wall, stabilizing the cellular structure. The biggest drawback of the silicone oil treatment is that it is non-reversible, and that has to be factored in to any decision made to conserve an object. The ethical implications are discussed, and the decision whether or not to use the silicone oil treatment should be done on a case-to-case basis, weighing in all factorsUppsats för avläggande av filosofie kandidatexamen i Kulturvård, Konservatorprogrammet 15 hp Institutionen för kulturvård Göteborgs universitet 2012:2

Topics: Leather conservation, Klucel G, British Museum leather dressing, surface treatment, dry leather, silicone oil treatment, passivation polymers, silanol terminated polydimethyl siloxane, comparative study
Year: 2013
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