What about discoloration in plastic artifacts? The use of Fiber Optic Reflectance Spectroscopy in the scope of conservation
Keywords:historical plastic objects, discoloration, FORS, in situ analysis, colorimetry
Fiber Optic Reflectance Spectroscopy (FORS) is a well-established technique for the study of traditional artworks. Nevertheless, its application for the analysis of modern and contemporary materials such as plastics is still a pioneering line of research. In this work, the application of FORS for the discoloration assessment of cultural heritage plastics is presented. The spectroscopic method successfully characterized in situ the discoloration of a selection of naturally aged historical plastic objects, and results of yellowing and fading measurements are discussed. Even though further research studies are required to elucidate the potentialities and limitations of FORS in the investigation of cultural heritage plastics, this study paves the way for its application as a preliminary tool for the detection of incipient and severe discoloration in the plastic heritage caused by polymer and colorant degradation (e.g. yellowing, darkening and fading). The results suggested that FORS may be considered a reliable method for in-situ rapid characterization and monitoring of cultural heritage plastics degradation phenomena in museums in the scope of collection care.
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