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Re: print longevity testing



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>When Wilhelm tests paper/ink combinations he exposes them to standard
>conditions of light and atmosphere.  This only creates a standard form of
>exposure from test to test, but does not allow one to determine what portion
>of fading is due to what particular insult (UV, visible light, oxygen,
>ozone, other pollutants, etc.).  The only way to do that would be to test
>each paper/ink combo exposed to just one of these variables.  (Wilhelm has
>made claims about the amount of fading due to UV compared to that damage
>done by visible light.  He must be doing tests under different combinations
>of light, UV only tests and visible/no UV tests for example, in order to
>make such statements.)  For instance, when testing for lightfastness, unless
>the paper/ink being tested is immersed in a zero humidity nitrogen
>atmosphere (inert) you can't eliminate any of the effects of the atmosphere
>itself and the contaminants it carries.
>Matted/glazed/framed works are largely, but not completely, protected from
>the atmosphere, because they are protected from "turnover" of the gases and
>contaminants in the local environment (unless they are placed in very drafty
>spot).  Thus gases and contaminants that are trapped within the mount will
>react with the print, but after those reactions occur little fresh
>contamination will occur because of the stagnant conditions created by the
>mount.  The same goes for dark-stored prints that are kept in albums, filing
>cabinets and the like.
>So I would wager that the best protection for prints would both shield the
>print from UV light (sealing it against visible light can only be done in
>dark storage, otherwise the print would not be viewable :-)) and seal it off
>from the atmosphere.  The solution would seem to be UV protective plastic
>lamination.  I have sealed several of my Epson 1200 prints (OEM inks on
>Mitsubishi matte paper).  I have not performed any tests with them because
>they have not been sealed that long and because the particular laminate I
>used was not UV protective.  But at least they are sealed off from
>atmosphere induced damage.  I find that glossy laminate gives even matter
>paper a glossy paper look.  I have yet to experiment with matte finished
>laminate.

Atmospheric components will diffuse through most polymeric materials, 
so you might retard the flow, but you won't stop it. If the 
permeation, or diffusion is sufficient - even at very small amounts - 
degradation will occur - doesn't take many molecules. You need to 
know what the protective plastic is (not brand name, but technical 
name). And how thick it must be applied to provide a "starvation" 
barrier. Diffusion rate varies to the inverse second power of 
thickness; a little extra thickness adds a lot more protection. The 
archive people rely on inert blankets to protect documents. This 
means the documents are in a controlled 100 percent nitrogen (or 
Argon) atmosphere. Of course, this is the ultimate barrier against 
atmospheric attack. Not for the homeowner, except Bill Gates  (no 
joke - he has collections archived).

>Any comments on these ideas?  Can anyone comment on their own use of
>lamination?
>
>D. Grenier
>Olympia, WA
>dgrenier@olywa.net
>
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