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Thursday, May 31 • 2:30pm - 3:00pm
(Photographic Materials) Evaluation of Hydrolytic Accelerated Aging Protocols on Cellulose Acetate

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A collaborative research project between the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) and the Walt Disney Animation Research Library (ARL) is investigating the effects of storage environment on stability of animation cels. One aspect includes an evaluation of accelerated aging methods to create aged mockups in parallel condition to naturally-aged cels. For cellulose diacetate (CDA) animation cels created between 1940s-1980s, the support material is particularly prone to degradation by hydrolysis and chain scission, while reviewing archival records reveal a variety of storage environments prior to 1996. To date there has yet to be a comprehensive study of CDA reaction kinetics and mechanism of degradation of the problematic art material, nor are there established projections of risk based on specific storage conditions and containment. As part of the evaluation, cellulose triacetate (CTA) and CDA from the Disney ARL collection were compared to thermally-aged set of prepared mock-ups without plasticizers, in order to calculate the rate constant through Arrhenius methods. In some cases CA materials were pre-incubated to ascertain the physical effects of the reaction from within a cel before aging in the CTA industry standard of aluminum/polypropylene (Al/PP) and vapor barrier polyvinyl-fluoride (PVF) heat-sealed bags. This was compared with other cases where CA degradation reaction may be promoted by an environment, by aging within Teflon crimp-lid glass vials with the reactant of water or the catalyst of acid, which is the byproduct of hydrolysis reaction. The depth of penetration of degradation in CA will be assessed by utilizing the rate constant in conjunction with depth-profiling FTIR. Initial results after one month of accelerated aging revealed the Al/PP packaging method resulted in the highest degradation, followed by the glass vials, with the smallest effects seen in the PVF bags. The changes were confirmed by several analytical methods of detecting % acetyl content, including ion chromatography and FTIR. Other key findings of this research indicated plasticizers enhanced the degradation rates in the cels. Moreover, incubation pre-aging enhanced hydrolysis of all these CA plastic films from worst to least: one Molar acetic acid environment, ~85 %RH, and ~55 %RH across all samples analyzed. Initial observations show liquid is trapped between cels when stacked together and aged, but further research will be required to determine the influence of separating each cel in storage. Disney CTA and CDA, and CDA mock-ups aged alongside interleaving, buffered, and box materials aid in assessing the impact of storage materials on CA stability used in the Disney ARL collection. Long term impact of this research is contributing to the understanding of degradation kinetics to assist in predicting CA longevity, as well as providing guidelines for storage conditions and packaging containers.

avatar for Carolyn Carta

Carolyn Carta

Research Lab Assistant, Getty Conservation Institute
Carolyn Carta joined the GCI in 2016 as a research lab assistant to lead scientific studies as part of the GCI's collaborative research project with the Disney Animation Research Library. She graduated in 2011 with a BA in art history, studio art, and chemistry from Trinity College... Read More →

avatar for Katharina Hoeyng

Katharina Hoeyng

Katharina Höyng
Katharina Hoeyng recently moved to Amsterdam where she works as a freelance conservator. Prior to that Kathariana joined the Getty Conservation Institute from 2015-2018. As part of the Preservation of Plastics project, she researches and evaluates treatment methods for reattaching... Read More →
avatar for Herant Khanjian

Herant Khanjian

Assistant Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute
Herant Khanjian received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from California State University, Northridge and has been a member in the Science department of the Getty Conservation Institute since 1988. His research interests involve the detection and identification of organic media... Read More →
avatar for Joy Mazurek

Joy Mazurek

Assistant Scientist, Getty Conservation Institute
Joy Mazurek is an Associate Scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute. She specializes in the identification of binding media in paint using Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry, the characterization and degradation of plastics, and the application of biological methods to study... Read More →
avatar for Kristen McCormick

Kristen McCormick

Art Exhibitions and Conservation Manager, Walt Disney Animation Research Library
Kristen McCormick has been at the Walt Disney Company for over a decade and a half where she has been responsible for the safe keeping, care and transport of a broad range of artworks from African Art to Animation. In her current role she oversees the conservation care of the Walt... Read More →
avatar for Michael R. Schilling

Michael R. Schilling

Senior Scientist, Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage
Michael Schilling is head of Materials Characterization research at the Getty Conservation Institute, which focuses on development of analytical methods for studying classes of materials used by artists and conservators. He specializes in gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and... Read More →

Thursday May 31, 2018 2:30pm - 3:00pm MDT
Hunters Creek Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston