Evaluation of the Adhesion and Performance of Natural Consolidants for Cotton Canvas Conservation
Journal article, 2018
Recent developments in paper and canvas conservation have seen the introduction of nanocellulose (NC) as a compatible treatment for the consolidation of historical cellulosic artifacts and manuscripts. However, as part of the assessment of these new materials for canvas consolidation, the adhesion of the consolidation treatment (which takes place between the applied material and the substrate) has not yet been evaluated, and as a result, it is poorly understood by both the scientific and conservation communities. After evaluating the potential of NC treatments for the consolidation of cotton painting canvas, we investigate a route to promote the interaction between the existing canvas and the nanocellulose treatment, which is in our case made of cellulose nanofibrils (CNF). This was carried out by introducing a cationic polymer, polyamidoamine-epichlorohydrin (PAAE), as an intermediate layer between the canvas and the CNF. The morphological, chemical, and mechanical evaluation of the canvas samples at different relative humidity (RH) levels demonstrated how the adhesion of the added PAAE layer is a dominant factor in the consolidation process. Improvement in the coating of canvas single fibers by the CNF, higher adhesion energy between the canvas fibers and the CNF treatment, and finally overall stronger canvas reinforcement were observed following the introduction of PAAE. However, an increase in mechanical response to moisture sorption and desorption was also observed for the PAAE-treated canvases. Overall, this study shows the complexity of such systems and, as such, the relevance of using a multiscale approach for their assessment.