Laser cleaning of undyed silk: indications of chemical change

Karin von Lerber, Matija Strlic, Jana Kolar, Jörg Krüger, Simone Pentzien, Craig J Kennedy, Timothy J Wess, Marina Sokhan, Wolfgang Kautek

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


    Three different undyed, unweighed silk fabrics (new clean, new soiled, and naturally aged) were cleaned with a computer-controlled Q-switched Nd:YAG laser at 532nm in 30 combinations of fluence and pulse numbers. They were studied for chemical change by viscometry, X-ray diffraction, and FIB-SIMS in combination with temperature calculations. While physical changes only occurred above the tested parameters, chemical changes could be detected as low as 0.2 J cm?2 with four pulses. Yellowing was observed at lower and bleaching at higher fluence/pulse number combinations. Melting was observed in naturally aged silk cleaned with 64 pulses at 4.2 J cm?2. The temperature reached at 0.1 J cm?2 is sufficient to evaporate carbon. Excess energy is transferred into the silk substrate causing thermal degradation. Different chemical processes leading to chain scission and to crosslinking seem to occur simultaneously, even at low fluence and pulse number. An increase in pulse numbers also leads to increasing damage.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication Lasers in the Conservation of Artworks
    Subtitle of host publicationLACONA VI Proceedings, Vienna, Austria, Sept. 21-25, 2005
    EditorsMag Johann Nimmrichter, Wolfgang Kautek, Manfred Schreiner
    Number of pages8
    ISBN (Electronic)9783540721307
    ISBN (Print)9783540721291
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    EventLasers in the Conservation of Artworks - Vienna, Austria
    Duration: 21 Sept 200525 Sept 2005

    Publication series

    NameSpringer Proceedings in Physics
    ISSN (Print)0930-8989


    ConferenceLasers in the Conservation of Artworks
    Abbreviated titleLACONA VI


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