The Use of Oxygen-Free Environments in the Control of Museum

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  • Tools for Conservation

    The Use of Oxygen-FreeEnvironments in the Controlof Museum Insect Pests

    Shin MaekawaKerstin Elert

    The Getty Conservation Institute Los Angeles

  • Timothy P. Whalen, Director, Getty Conservation InstituteJeanne Marie Teutnico, Associate Director, Field Projects and Conservation Science

    Chris Hudson, Publisher

    Mark Greenberg, Editor in Chief

    Ann Lucke, Managing Editor

    Tevvy Ball, Project Editor

    Sheila Berg, Copy Editor

    Hespenheide Design, Designer

    Pamela Heath, Production Coordinator

    The Getty Conservation Institute works internationally to advance conservation

    and to enhance and encourage the preservation and understanding of the visual

    arts in all of their dimensionsobjects, collections, architecture, and sites. TheInstitute serves the conservation community through scientific research; educa-

    tion and training; field projects; and the dissemination of the results of both

    its work and the work of others in the field. In all its endeavors, the Institute

    is committed to addressing unanswered questions and promoting the highest

    possible standards of conservation practice.

    The Institute's Tools for Conservation series provides practical scientific proce-

    dures and methodologies for the practice of conservation. The series is specifically

    directed to conservation scientists, conservators, and technical experts in related

    fields. Previously published in the series are Color Science in the Examination of

    Museum Objects: Nondestructive Procedures (2001) by Ruth Johnston-Feller;

    Infrared Spectroscopy in Conservation Science (1999) by Michle R. Derrick,

    Dusan Stulik, and James M. Landry; and Thin-Layer Chromatography for Binding

    Media Analysis (1996) by Mary F. Striegel and Jo Hill.

    2003 J. Paul Getty Trust

    Getty Publications

    1200 Getty Center DriveLos Angeles, California

    Printed in the United States of America1 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Maekawa, Shin, 1952-

    Oxygen-free environments in the control of museum insect pests / Shin

    Maekawa, Kerstin Elert.

    p. cm.

    Includes bibliographical references and index.

    ISBN 0-89236-693-1 (pbk.)1. BuildingsPest control. 2. MuseumsProtection. 3. Insect pests.

    4. Gases, Asphyxiating and poisonous. 5. Museum conservation methods.

    I. Elert, Kerstin. II. Title.

    TH9041 .M34 2003

    069'.53-dc21 2002154104

  • Contents







    Chapter 1 3 Insect Mortality Using Anoxia

    3 Pest Control in Museums

    4 Major Factors Influencing Insect Mortality

    5 Temperature

    6 Relative Humidity

    6 Oxygen Concentration

    8 Combination of Low-Oxygen Atmospheres and Carbon Dioxide

    8 Optimal Parameters for the Anoxia of Museum Pests

    11 Notes

    11 References

    Chapter 2 15 Methods and Materials for the Anoxia of Insects in Museum Objects

    15 Anoxic Eradication of Insects

    15 The Containers and the Method

    16 Safety of Objects in Nitrogen Atmospheres

    17 Bases for Choosing the Best Mode of Anoxic Treatment

    17 Small- versus Large-Scale Containers

    19 Oxygen-Barrier Film for Making Bags and Tents

    19 Overview

    21 Some Laminates Useful for Anoxia and a Comparison of Their Properties

    24 The Selection of a Barrier Film for an Anoxic Bag

    27 Heat Sealing of Barrier Films to Form Anoxic Enclosures

    30 Monitoring of Anoxic Conditions

    30 Inexpensive Qualitative Oxygen Indicators: Ageless-Eye

    32 Oxygen Monitors and Analyzers

    36 Relative Humidity Monitors

    38 Temperature Sensors and Thermometers

    38 Leak Detectors

    39 Data Collection during the Anoxic Process

    40 Notes

    40 References

  • Chapter 3 43 Small-Scale Anoxia Using an Oxygen Absorber

    43 The Chemical Process of Oxygen Absorption

    44 Properties of Oxygen Absorbers: Absorption Capacity, Reaction Rate, and

    Moisture Release

    46 Ageless Oxygen Absorbers

    47 Ateo Oxygen Absorbers

    48 Fresh Pax Oxygen Absorbers

    48 RP-Systems Oxygen Absorbers

    49 Amount of Oxygen Absorber to Use for Anoxia in Bags

    50 Calculation of the Amount of Oxygen Absorber

    51 Conclusion

    52 Procedure for Anoxia in Plastic Bags Using Oxygen Absorbers

    53 Control of Moisture Release by an Oxygen Absorber

    56 Notes

    56 References

    Chapter 4 59 Large-Scale Anoxia Using External Nitrogen Sources

    59 Overview

    61 Safe Use of Large Volumes of Nitrogen

    62 Nitrogen Sources: High-Pressure Gas, Liquid Nitrogen, Nitrogen


    63 Nitrogen Gas Cylinders

    64 Liquid Nitrogen Containers

    65 Nitrogen Generators

    67 Humidification of Nitrogen

    69 Fabrication, Testing, and Use of Large Flexible Anoxic Enclosures

    73 Tests of a Commercial Fumigation Bubble for Museum Anoxia

    75 Modification of Power Plastics Bubbles (Used by Rentokil) for Anoxia

    76 Leak-proof Connectors to Anoxic Enclosures

    76 Leak Rates of Large Anoxic Enclosures Made from Plastic Film

    78 Rigid Chambers for Anoxia

    79 Testing and Operation of a Rigid Chamber

    80 Notes

    81 References

    Chapter 5 83 Protocols for Insect Eradication in Nitrogen (Anoxia)

    83 Choosing a Protocol

    84 Protocol A: Anoxia in Small to Medium-Size Bags or Pouches

    90 Nitrogen Purging: Reducing the Amount of Oxygen Absorber

    91 Nitrogen Purging: Physical Setup and Process

    93 Troubleshooting Protocol A

    95 Materials and Equipment for Fabrication and Operation of Anoxic Bags

    97 Protocols for Anoxia in Large-Scale Systems

    97 Protocol B: Anoxia in Large, User-made Tents

    98 Part 1 : Enclosure Fabrication and Testing

    107 Part 2: Anoxic Treatment

    110 Materials and Equipment

    113 Protocol C: Anoxia in Large Commercial Enclosures (Portable Bubbles)

    116 Materials and Equipment

  • 117 Protocol D: Anoxia in Large Rigid Chambers

    118 Preparation: Testing for Leaks

    119 Materials and Equipment

    120 Troubleshooting Large-Scale Anoxia Systems

    123 Notes

    Appendix I 125 Protocol Tools

    125 Leak Testing of Anoxic Enclosures

    126 Supplies Required for Leak Testing

    127 Construction and Use of a Nitrogen Humidification System

    128 Constructing the Humidification System

    132 Supplies and Specific Part Numbers for Materials Required to Fabricate

    a Nitrogen Humidification Unit

    133 Leak-proof Connectors in Anoxic Enclosure Walls

    135 Supplies Required for Connectors

    135 Calculation of Required Amount of Oxygen Absorber

    137 Calculation of Required Amount of RH-conditioned Silica Gel

    137 Materials

    137 Notes

    Appendix II 138 Technical Addenda

    138 Reaction of an Iron Powder "Oxygen Absorber" with Oxygen

    138 Calculation of the Amount of Oxygen Absorber Required to Maintain

    0.1 % Oxygen in an Anoxic Enclosure Whose Leak Rate Is Known

    139 Determination of the Oxygen Leak Rate of an Anoxic Enclosure

    140 Determination of the Rate of Reaction of Oxygen with Ageless

    142 References

    Appendix III 143 Table of Conversion Factors

    Appendix IV 144 Manufacturers and Suppliers of Materials and Equipment Useful in Anoxia

    144 Oxygen-Barrier Films, Bubbles, and Oxygen Absorbers

    146 Tools and Equipment

    147 Addresses and Web Sites

    Appendix V 151 Outlines for Treatment Protocols A, B, and C

    151 Outline for Protocol A

    151 Outline for Protocol B

    152 Outline for Protocol C

    Index 154

    About the Authors 158

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  • Foreword

    For more than fifteen years, scientists at the Getty Conservation Insti-tute have been actively conducting research on solutions to the problem ofpest control in museum environments and have collaborated with partnersall over the world in the effort to house documents and objects in safe,protective environments. While this work was originally undertaken in aneffort to effectively house the royal mummies at the Egyptian Museum inCairo, other potential uses of the technology became apparent, and theultimate result of that research and work is this present volume.

    This publication, in the Tools for Conservation series, buildson the research published by the GCI in 1998 in volumes in the Researchin Conservation series: Inert Gases in the Control of Museum InsectPests and Oxygen-Free Museum Cases. This book turns the theory ofthose two publications into practice, providing substantive practical andspecific information about the use of oxygen-free environments (in thiscase, nitrogen) in integrated pest management in the museum environ-ment. The first four chapters provide background materials, and the fifthchapter provides step-by-step instructions on procedures as well as onthe construction of treatment systems for insect anoxia.

    A searchable CD-ROM in the back flap of the book isintended to help make this publication particularly easy and practical touse. URLs and web information are provided. Comments from readersregarding the usefulness of the CD-ROM are welcome, as the goal of thebook is to create a useful tool for the practitioner in the field.

    The book was written by Shin Maekawa, senior scientist atthe Getty Conservation Institute, and Kerstin Elert, of the University ofGranada in Spain. The work benefited from technical editing by FrankLambert and from developmental editing by Elizabeth Maggio, who wasespecially helpful in