Chemical Removal of Conservation Substances By 'Soxhlet'-Type Extraction
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CitationBruhn, F., Duhr, A., Grootes, P. M., Mintrop, A., & Nadeau, M. J. (2001). Chemical removal of conservation substances by 'Soxhlet'-type extraction. Radiocarbon, 43(2A), 229-237.
DescriptionFrom the 17th International Radiocarbon Conference held in Jerusalem, Israel, June 18-23, 2000.
AbstractAt the Leibniz radiocarbon lab, art and archaeological objects, often chemically conserved and thus potentially contaminated with respect to their 14C content, are treated using a computer-controlled “Soxhlet”-type series extractor. This device uses a continuous procedure of boiling and condensation of different solvents for extraction and vacuum filtration under constant process conditions. An elutrope sequence of five solvents that dissolve most customary conservation chemicals was selected. A study of these different contaminants applied to reference wood samples with subsequent accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) measurements demonstrates that their effective removal is dependent on the use of adequate solvents. For many contaminants (e.g. Wood glue, methyl cellulose, Klucel(R), sugar, and polyethylene glycol), routine acid-alkali-acid (AAA) treatment already yields satisfactory results, whereas for Caparol(R) and beeswax a relatively “mild” treatment with acetone, methanol, water, and subsequent standard AAA extraction is sufficient. Complete removal of rubber glue, epoxyresin, and paraffin can only be accomplished with our full set of solvents. The latter procedure is also appropriate when no or only incomplete information about the type of conservation material is available. For epoxy resin the contamination appears to be enriched in the alkali residue, and the easily soluble “humic acid” fraction, even after standard AAA treatment, gives satisfactory results. Two case studies on the application of the extraction procedures are presented.