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The efficiency of chloride extraction from archaeological iron objects using deoxygenated alkaline solutions

Rimmer, Melanie, Watkinson, David and Wang, Quanyu 2012. The efficiency of chloride extraction from archaeological iron objects using deoxygenated alkaline solutions. Studies in Conservation 57 (1) , pp. 29-41. 10.1179/2047058411Y.0000000005

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Abstract

Chloride-contaminated archaeological iron is unstable and problematic to store and display within museum collections. Reducing its chloride ion content using aqueous desalination followed by storage in controlled relative humidity offers one treatment option. This study reports a quantitative assessment of chloride extraction by aqueous deoxygenated alkaline desalination solutions from 120 individual archaeological iron nails. The three treatment methods comprised alkaline sulphite solution (0.1 M NaOH/0.05 M Na2SO3) at room temperature and at 60°C and sodium hydroxide solution (0.1 M) deoxygenated using a nitrogen gas positive pressure system at room temperature. Chloride extraction was monitored using a specific ion meter. The nails were digested after treatment to measure their residual chloride content. A wide range of extraction patterns emerged, with the majority of individual treatments extracting 60–99% of the chloride present. Residual chloride levels for 87% of the objects fell below 1000 ppm and 42% were below 200 ppm. Although no treatment extracted 100% of the chloride in the object, alkaline desalination produced very significant reductions in chloride content. The impact of this on future corrosion of the objects is discussed. This quantitative and statistically viable assessment of deoxygenated desalination treatments provides evidence to support their use in conservation practice, which will impact on procedures for the preservation and management of archaeological heritage.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QD Chemistry
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sodium hydroxide; Desalination; Chloride; Alkaline sulphite; Archaeological iron
Publisher: Maney
ISSN: 2047-0584
Funders: AHRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:53
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/28513

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