A novel polymer network that soaks into wood and provides artefacts with structural support while simultaneously protecting against biological degradation has been developed by scientists in the UK. The team say the polymer network could be a ‘one-stop’ material for tackling the main issues conservators face when treating and drying historical objects.
Large wooden artefacts such as the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s famous flagship, are currently treated with a polyethylene glycol (PEG) spray to prevent the wood from shrinking as it dries out. PEG works by replacing the water held by cells within the wood, which have been hollowed out over the years by marine bacteria. Read more.