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Thursday, May 16 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
49. An Evaluation of Damage to a Variety of Paper due to Gamma Irradiation Followed by Natural Aging

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Gamma irradiation has been used to disinfect books and documents with mold and insect infestation. This has been caused either by storage without adequate environmental controls or by exposure to disasters such as floods. It is considered a treatment of last resort used to preserve access to these cultural materials. Gamma irradiation of archival paper materials is capable of mitigating both mold and insect infestations and is cost-effective for the treatment of large amounts of material.

In November 1982, the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions irradiated a large (300 cubic feet) collection of papers, journals, and books due to mold and insect infestation. Some of the material dates from the early 20th century and other material from the 1960s. Prior to irradiation, the collection was stored in non-climate controlled conditions in Baltimore. The material has now aged naturally for 36 years post-irradiation. Although a physical examination of the papers immediately post-irradiation did not show visible damage, irradiation of paper may cause accelerated degradation that appears over time. Consequently, it is important to investigate any long-term degradation of the irradiated materials.

For this study, the naturally aged, post-irradiation condition was compared with non-irradiated samples of the same books, journals, and pamphlets. The non-irradiated samples were borrowed from the Johns Hopkins libraries or purchased from booksellers. Results from mechanical and chemical testing of the paper are reported.

avatar for Dr. Louise Pasternack

Dr. Louise Pasternack

Scientist/Researcher, Johns Hopkins University, Milton S. Eisenhower Library
Louise Pasternack obtained her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Johns Hopkins University. She spent 2 years as an NRC post-doctoral fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory and 20 years at the Naval Research Laboratory as a Research Scientist, followed by 17 years teaching chemistry at... Read More →

avatar for Andrea KI Hall

Andrea KI Hall

Student, Johns Hopkins University, Milton S. Eisenhower Library
Andrea Hall is Senior Research Specialist at Heritage Science for Conservation in the Department of Conservation and Preservation at Johns Hopkins University where she is working on physical property testing of heritage materials, environmental monitoring, studying conservation testing... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Patricia McGuiggan

Dr. Patricia McGuiggan

Professor/Educator, Johns Hopkins University, Milton S. Eisenhower Library
Dr. McGuiggan obtained her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.  During her Ph.D., she was a research scholar in the Applied Mathematics Department at the Australian National University working with Richard Pashley.  She spent 3 years as a postdoctoral... Read More →

Nancy Mccall

Historian, Rosalie Mansion

Thursday May 16, 2019 3:30pm - 4:00pm EDT
Uncas Ballroom Foyer Sky Convention Center, Mohegan Sun
  • Tags Gamma irradiation, natural aging, paper degradation