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01-12-2008 | Issue 6/2008

Cellulose 6/2008

Iron gall ink-induced corrosion of cellulose: aging, degradation and stabilization. Part 2: application on historic sample material

Journal:
Cellulose > Issue 6/2008
Authors:
Ute Henniges, Rebecca Reibke, Gerhard Banik, Enke Huhsmann, Ulrike Hähner, Thomas Prohaska, Antje Potthast

Abstract

Degradation of cellulose in historic paper by iron gall ink is a synergistic process of both, acid hydrolysis caused by acidic ink ingredients and oxidation catalyzed by free iron and/or copper ions. The interplay of both reactions was studied according to the CCOA method on historic paper samples. Only minute amounts (few mg) of the samples were required to obtain profiles of naturally present and oxidatively introduced carbonyl groups, which was done by group-selective fluorescence labeling in combination with determination of the molecular weight distribution by GPC-MALLS. In the present study naturally occurring degradation pathways in historic sample papers have been investigated. Different extents of oxidatitive degradation were shown for paper with and without ink. A typical pattern of the molecular weight distribution in naturally aged papers was identified, the peculiar feature being a distinctive shoulder in the region of low molecular weight, roughly between 25,000 and 5,000 g/mol corresponding to a DP between 150 and 30. This pattern was a typical attribute of degraded natural samples: any artificial aging procedures aimed at modeling natural aging processes must thus attempt to reproduce this feature. Although the historic samples had been more severely oxidized than model papers, the inhibition of further oxidation and hydrolysis by the calcium phytate/hydrogen carbonate treatment was evident and could be proven for the first time on the molecular level. Also on plain paper without ink application the oxidation was suppressed and the molecular weight was stabilized on a high level.

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