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Tuesday, May 30 • 4:30pm - 5:00pm
(Paintings + Research & Technical Studies) Gecko-inspired µ-Dusters for Cleaning: Ongoing Research and Potential for Art Conservation

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The presentation will report on the status of the ongoing research project on the use of µ-dusters in art conservation. Inspired by gecko adhesion, fibrillar microstructures (µ-dusters) show great potential as a dry cleaning material for removing particulate contaminants (loosely referred to as dust) from surfaces vulnerable to mechanical damage from dry cleaning, such as acrylic paintings and daguerreotypes. In collaboration with the Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering at Yale University, we have demonstrated successful dust removal from a variety of solid surfaces using polymeric µ-dusters. When they touch a contaminated surface, µ-dusters of controlled interfacial and geometrical properties develop intimate contact with both surface contaminants and substrates. However, development of stronger interactions with the contaminants allow for their removal from the surface. Further, preliminary testing on poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) thin films (as model substrates for acrylic paint) demonstrated that by moving the adsorbed particles from the tip to the side of the fibrils and consequently removing them from the contact interface, polymeric µ-dusters are less likely to result in abrasive action on the surface than solid flat dry cleaning materials. This new generation of dry cleaning materials is attractive for use in art conservation for this non-destructive quality as well as for the very low potential of residue deposition on the artwork's surface. While the method is primarily targeted at removing loosely bound contaminants such as dust, µ-dusters present an advantage over with traditional dusting methods, such as brushing or air flow in that they have been shown to remove sub-micrometric contaminants that are not able to be removed by these methods. Colorimetry and gloss measurements and photomicrographs will be taken of artificially soiled acrylic paint samples before and after soiling and cleaning. The results will be compared to existing dusting and dry cleaning methods. The micropillar cleaning material will be also evaluated based on user experience. Suggested areas of further investigation will be presented.

avatar for Cynthia Schwarz

Cynthia Schwarz

Associate Conservator of Paintings, Yale University Art Gallery
Cynthia Schwarz is the Associate Conservator of Paintings at the Yale University Art Gallery. Her research interests include the structural treatment of canvas paintings, the conservation of 19th- and 20th-century American murals, and how advances in microbiology can aid in materials... Read More →

avatar for Hadi Izadi

Hadi Izadi

Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yale University
avatar for Kyle Vanderlick

Kyle Vanderlick

Dean and Thomas E. Golden, Jr. Professor, Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yale University

Tuesday May 30, 2017 4:30pm - 5:00pm CDT
Regency C-D Ballroom Level, West Tower