Tag: plastics

Back to the blog front page

Identification of plastics by looking, touching and smelling

Example of groups of plastics made from melamine formaldehyde and cellulose nitrate

Carien van Aubel Conservation Science intern, University of Amsterdam   Collections with objects dating from the late-nineteenth-century onwards often include a variety of plastics. As there are numerous different types of plastics it would be hoped that specific identification would be stated in the records but it is not easy for those not experienced with […]

Keep reading

The use of lasers in the conservation of museum objects made from plastics

The surface of polystyrene under the optical microscope exposed to different conditions

Dafni Daskalaki-Mountanou, MSc student Imperial College / V&A The predominance of polymers in everyday life is obvious. They have become an integral part not only of everyday objects but of cultural heritage objects as well. A survey held in the 1990s at the Victoria and Albert Museum showed that large numbers of artefacts were partly […]

Keep reading

The Analysis of Cleaning Protocols for Plastics in the V&A Collections

Figure 2. Polystyrene samples being loaded into the ToF-SIMS machine for analysis

Anna L Fricker Research Postgraduate, V&A and Imperial College London The issue of plastics conservation is one that has been highlighted in this journal several times over the last twenty years and has most recently focused on the need to look at a proactive approach to the care of polymeric artefacts1. As part of this […]

Keep reading

Caring for Plastics – An intern’s reflection on the conservation of modern materials

Part of the ‘Plastic Teaching Collection’ held in the Conservation Science Laboratory

Mark Kearney V&A HLF Intern   Since 2006, The Institute of Conservation and Heritage Lottery Fund (ICON-HLF) funded internship scheme has been providing valuable opportunities to those wishing to join the conservation profession. The internships have provided two indispensable career-building ingredients to those entering the field – professional, real-world experience, and funding, in order to […]

Keep reading

More Than Meets the Eye: Transformers, me and the MoC

Ironhide, the Autobots' second in command, shown transformed with his 'battle sled'. Museum no. B.105-1994, Copyright Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Transformers are alien robots hailing from the planet Cybertron, a metallic world riven by aeons of civil war between Heroic Autobots and Evil Decepticons. The differences between these two factions are absolute: Autobots are peace-loving, kind and curious about humanity; Decepticons are bellicose, authoritarian and contemptuous of other lifeforms. Transformers came to Earth by accident: […]

Keep reading

New acquisition: Storm umbrella

Umbrellas have been used to keep dry since distant antiquity, their basic shape has not changed a great deal throughout history. During the course of my research I found that each year, on average, around 1000 new patents are registered worldwide for ‘improved’ umbrella designs. New designs can include improved, stronger rib technology or alterations […]

Keep reading

Dirt off your shoulder…

One of the great challenges in museums is keeping the collection clean once it’s on display – dust & dirt are our number one enemy! This isn’t a new problem either, as far back as the mid 1800’s museum professionals have been worried about what the local environmental conditions were doing to their collections. Michael […]

Keep reading

A very brief history of staying dry

E.1240-1931 Poster No Wet - No Cold; 'No Wet - No Cold'. Colour lithograph poster with a stylised graphic design of umbrellas, advertising the London Underground Railways. Designed by Manner and issued by the Underground Electric Railways Co. of London, Ltd., 1929. Manner Underground Electric Railways Co. of London, Ltd. London 1929 Colour lithograph © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

As I said in the first post, to stay dry is a very human wish (unless of course you subscribe to the ‘aquatic ape’ theory put forward by some natural historians); so how did people keep the rain off in the olden days?     There is evidence that aboriginal Americans were the first true […]

Keep reading

Raspberry Pi Project – 1st video

Last July I wrote about our project using a raspberry pi and its camera module to track the decay of a plastic handbag. The project has been running for about 4 months now and we complied the first video not so long ago. To be honest we were more than a little nervous about this […]

Keep reading

Mini Post No.8 – Ghosts of Logos past

As part of my internship I have been repeating and expanding on some of the experiments into cleaning that they did during the POPART project. One part has been repeating experiments on real-world objects that have a surface texture – more on that in a later post though! The unusual object I’ve been using to […]

Keep reading