The hydrogel has helped to clean up the paintings of Jackson Pollock

Florentine chemists have created a hydrogel based on polyvinyl alcohol of different molecular masses and cleared with it the surface of the paintings of Jackson Pollock “Burning eyes” and “Two”. A new way to clean much safer than traditional methods for the restoration and preservation of paintings. The results of a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

One of the problems in the restoration of modern paintings — plaque removal of dirt from the surface. Many paints contain sensitive to solvents and cleaners additives. As many modern paintings are not varnished, dirt directly into the paint layers, and use of cleansers can lead to destruction of pigments, dyes, binders and additives. Moreover, the modern solvents used by conservators, dangerous to health, and thickeners are often left on the canvases.

The dirt on cloths washed well with water, however, excess moisture can harm the preservation of the painting. Similarly, the free water behave hydrogels of polyvinyl alcohol, which contain moisture more than 90 percent. However, they produce not so much thinner, to spoil the work of art and easily adapted to the roughness of the surface, making them an attractive material for use in restoration.

Rosangela the Mastrangelo (Rosangela Mastrangelo) with colleagues from University of Florence have developed a polymer hydrogel of polyvinyl alcohols, the structure resembles a sponge, and tested its cleaning properties on the test samples and cleansed of Jackson pollocks from Peggy Guggenheim collection in Venice.

The authors have mixed the two types of polyvinyl alcohol with a higher molecular weight and lower. It was assumed that the molecular chain of a lighter polymer at least partially infused with molecules of heavier alcohol, changing wall formation and pores, which affect the rheological properties of the material. The control of the distribution of pore size and rheological behavior of gels allows to optimize the adhesive properties of the gel to the surface (stickiness) or the capture and transfer of matter into the matrix of the gel.

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