Tag: plastics

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One of the 1st Laptops used in the conservation science section of the museum - A Toshiba t1600

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 […]

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The current setup for a long duration time lapse. Its hoped that we might gain some insight into the decay rate by recording the progress over the next 6 months or so.

Mini Post No. 7 – Using a Raspberry Pi to watch a handbag decay

So a while back I posted an image of one of the plastic handbags we have here in the Conservation Science Dept. We use these non-museum objects as sacrificial lambs in the aid of heritage science. We have a second handbag that has started to dramatically decay. As we will use any excuse here in the […]

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Pair of shoes, Roger Vivier for Balenciaga, ca. 1967, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Vivier Party Plastic

These shoes were acquired by the Museum in 1974 as part of an evening outfit, and had been displayed in 1972 with that ensemble in Cecil Beaton‘s groundbreaking V&A exhibition ‘Fashion: An Anthology‘.     What’s interesting about them is the innovative use of materials and the co-ordination, materially and stylistically, with the rest of […]

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Mini Post No. 6 – How safe are your photographs?

So I have been researching about Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) over the past while and I came across this lovely example in the lab of the major danger associated with PVC. Many of us have our family photos kept in ‘plastic’ photo albums – most of these are going to be made from PVC. The biggest […]

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Mini Post No. 5 – Storing the samples we analyse

We collect a lot of samples during the year and these days we store them in little plastic resealable bags or if they are really small we put them in clear gelatin capsules… But back in the days before plastic (and in an era where more people smoked!) we used matchstick boxes.  

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Kaleidoscope House – A dolls house for the ‘child’ interested in modernist architecture

One of the nicer elements of my job is the exposure to the wonderfully diverse collection that we have here at the V&A. Later in the year the Museum of Childhood is putting together a wonderful exhibition on Dolls houses. We (my supervisor and I) were asked to consult on one of the more unusual […]

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Cross sections

Mini Post No. 4 – How we prepare samples

The nice people over that the Getty Conservation Institute have just released their new newsletter for Spring 2014. It deals with all things plastic and has a great article on the research they carried out on animation cels from old Disney films. You can find a pdf of the newsletter here. In other news… The science conservation department […]

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Total structural failure

Why conserve Plastics?

So then, Plastics… Why do we need to conserve things that we have been told last for hundreds of years in rubbish dumps? Well it turns out that some plastics don’t last that long at all! In fact rather than thousands of years we can be talking about very short lengths of time. The key […]

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Mini Post No.2…Preparing samples for testing

Today I tested some of the different ratios of of Paraffin oil and carbon black, a standard soil, that have been mentioned in literature. Once the ideal one has been chosen I can used it in my cleaning experiments. The % quoted in the photo below is the wt% of paraffin oil used.

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elements for XRF

Mini Post No.1- How we calibrate our science kit

We calibrated the XRF machine this week – how often do you get your hands on these weird metals… (Every now and then I will do a mini post between the regular, larger posts; normally these posts will be just a photo or a very short piece of writing – they will show more of […]

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