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Many materials used in the storage and display of museum objects are potentially corrosive and should not be used in the vicinity of specific metals. The ‘Oddy test’ is the procedure used in most museums to assess the suitability of such materials. However, there have been reports in the literature of problems with reproducibility and time constraints. In manufacturing industries, where similar problems have been encountered, electrochemical testing has replaced tests based on visual assessment. experiments with electrochemical testing are reported here, using typical exhibition and storage materials in conjunction with lead, copper and silver coupons. The results suggest that the polarization resistance test has potential for rapidly and objectively identifying possibly damaging materials. This method provides a quantitative measure of corrosion rate in milli-inches per year for a specific metal used in conjunction with a particular material.

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
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