Study of artificially degraded woods simulating natural ageing of archaeological findings
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Simulation of waterlogged archaeological woods was carried out by immersion of fir and chestnut wood samples into sea water at different temperatures (room temperature and 40°C). The effects of metals in contact with woods were simulated by inserting in some specimens of the two types of wood copper or iron nails, the most important metals from the archaeological point of view. The effects of this ageing simulation on woods were studied by different characterization methods. At first we have performed gravimetric analyses, controlling the mass increase of immersed wood in function of the time of immersion and the temperature of the bath. Then, thermogravimetry, differential thermal analysis, differential scanning calorimetry in oxygen flux were used. The alteration of wood was observed by means of the peak temperatures of DTA, DTG and DSC variation and by the mass losses observed during heating, evaluated on the basis of the measured thermal data. The samples were woods powder obtained by milling. Complementary characterization of the woods was performed by evaluating the crystallinity of cellulose by means of X-ray powder diffraction. The change in colour of woods during ageing was checked by means of spectrophotometric measurements in the visible region.
X-ray fluorescence was used to investigate the penetration of metals into wood samples. An artificial ageing treatment with NaOH and O3 was also performed.
Finally, a comparison between the effects of artificial alteration realised in our specimens and natural degradation observed in archaeological woods, was performed.
Keywordsdegradation thermal analysis waterlogged wood
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