IMLS- National Leadership Grant to the Conservation Department
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Federally compliant protective clear coatings for metals
October 1, 2008 – September 30, 2011
The conservation and preservation professions in the United States and in Europe face the real prospect that in the near future there will be no viable clear coating systems to protect outdoor monuments, sculptures, buildings, and other significant artifacts made of copper or iron alloys against corrosion and degradation. If regulations outlawing the use of solvents common to the formulation and application of such coatings are expanded in the near future, the only options available may be short-lived wax pastes that typically require reapplication every one to three years and contain some percentage of solvents that are also likely to be restricted. Agencies regulating air quality in the United States include the EPA, OSHA, state and regional air resources boards, ozone transport groups/commissions and departments of the environment; the controlling federal documents are now 40CFR51.100 and 40CFR.part60.AppendixA.TestMethod 24/24a. Proven, acceptable alternatives to traditional solvent-based coatings (including Paraloid™ Incralac and Permalac) have not been addressed nationally or internationally by the conservation field, except in the work undertaken by Clare and Lins at the Philadelphia Museum of Art over the past two years.
This research is not only aimed at meeting the urgent need for alternative efforts in the United States, but also to advance professional practice globally by evaluating high-performance coatings with careful consideration of the practical cost savings and benefits, and to develop better standards for testing and modifying coatings in the conservation field.