Reduction of Borax / Agar-based Gel Residues Used to Neutralize Acidity of a Historical Manuscript with use of Different Paper Barriers: Artificial Ageing Results

Eman Salim, Mostafa Abdel-Hamied, Sehame Salim, Sheeren Gamal, Shimaa Mohamed, Fatma El-Zahraa Galal, Fatma Tarek, Rushdya R. A. Hassan, Hayssam M. Ali, Mohamed Zidan Mohamed Salem


Borax-agar gel has been used recently in the deacidification and other conservation processes for paper manuscripts. However, the residues of borax-agar can be damaging to the cellulose fibers. Conservators are trying to solve this problem, especially with the great success achieved by the borax / agar based gel in the acidity neutralization and improve the mechanical properties of the paper manuscripts. The current study considers whether the use of paper barriers such as Japanese gampi, linen, and rayon can reduce harmful borax-agar residues. Historical paper specimens were treated with 3% and 6% of agar poultice with different barriers such as rayon, pure linen, and Japanese gampi paper. After drying, the treated paper samples were exposed to hot-moist ageing at 80 °C and 65% relative humidity for 72 h. The role of different barriers used in the reduction of residues from agar poultice and the effect of these residues on cellulose fibers were studied via some analytical techniques, such as digital optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, pH, color change, and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), were used. The results showed that 3% of the agar poultice-borax with a linen barrier gave the best results with no residue left after treatment.


Agar gel residues; Optical microscope; SEM; pH; Color change; FTIR

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