Single-Sided NMR of Paint Films After Climate Cycling: Conclusion

This will be my last Monroe blog post. Fortunately, the chemistry department gave me additional funding to continue research for the remainder of the summer. But as of now, here is where my research stands:

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Single-Sided NMR of Paint Films After Climate Cycling: Post 2

Days 3-4

Over the past couple of days I’ve put paint samples through two climate cycles. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of correlation between any of the variables I am looking at. The samples can be divided cleanly into two groups: those that readily change T2 values in response to environmental changes and those that do not. While water mixable oil paints seem more likely to change than traditional oil paints, this trend isn’t all inclusive. The type of pigment in each paint sample also does not explain anything; organic and inorganic pigments seem to be randomly distributed between the two groups. On top of that, the changes themselves are unpredictable. Even within a single climate cycle, some T2 values will increase and others will decrease, even though they experience the same conditions. There were even changes in T2 values in paint samples that were simply left alone over the weekend. These changes could possibly be explained as the result of changes in the environment in the lab.

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Single-Sided NMR of Paint Films After Climate Cycling: Post 1

Days 1-2

I spent much of the past two days learning to use instrumentation. I learned to use the NMR magnet to take standard measurements of the paint films, and how to process the data in Matlab to find T2 times. After some technical issues, Professor Meldrum and I connected the climate chamber to the computer and figured out how to program it for an overnight cycle. I also learned how to take small paint samples from the slides using a razor blade to use in calorimetry measurements.

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Single-Sided NMR of Paint Films After Climate Cycling

The aim of my research will be to use single-sided nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to study the mechanical properties of water-mixable oil paints. Single-sided NMR is a method of analyzing samples by applying a magnetic field which interacts with the magnetic spins of certain atoms, providing information about the cross-linkage between molecules. Generally, the amount of cross-linkage in a sample is proportional to the brittleness and hardness of the sample. Water-mixable oil paint is a relatively new, environmentally-friendly type of paint which has different physical properties from traditional oil paints. Museums need information about how the physical properties of water-mixable oil paintings differ from those of traditional oil paintings so they can store and treat water-mixable oil paintings without damaging them. In my research, I will measure the mechanical properties of water-mixable oil paint films before and after the films are exposed to different environments, specifically different temperatures and relative humidities. I will compare my results with measurements done on traditional oil paint films. This research will provide information about the optimum environment to store and transport paintings and will help to develop NMR as a tool for examining paintings.