Extending the useful life of paper - evaluation of the effect of various preservation actions

Aneta Balažic, Špela Habicht, Mateja Smodiš, Jana Kolar, Matija Strlič

Environmental influences, such as temperature, relative humidity and volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere surrounding an artefact often play a key role in its deterioration. Yet the effects of these parameters are seldom quantified, leading to difficulties in the development of suitable preservation programmes. A recent project, PaperTreat, co-funded by the European Commission’s 6th Framework Programme, addresses these issues with respect to paper-based cultural heritage. Using the Arrhenius approach, data on the extension of the useful life of paper, as achieved by Bookkeeper mass deacidification, cool and cold storage, were obtained. It is demonstrated that deacidified paper is 3.5 times more stable than untreated (pH 6.2), while a decrease of storage temperature by 5 oC increases the longevity of paper by a factor of 2.