WORKSHOP: An Introduction to the Identification of Aluminum Alloys and Finishes
Dates: April 10, 2014 (8:30 am to 4:30 pm) and April 11, 2014 (8:30 am to 12:30 pm).
Location: Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory at the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, Virginia. Transportation will be provided to and from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in downtown Washington, D.C.
Workshop held in conjunction with the conference Aluminum: History, Technology and Conservation, April 7-9, 2014.
Registration: Participation in the workshop is limited to 30 participants. Priority will be given to conference attendees, with a limit of 2 registrants per organization. Transportation to/from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC will be provided for workshop participants.
Registration Fee: $250.00
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Workshop Description: Presented by the International Council of Museums Committee for Conservation Metal Working Group, in partnership with the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation and the Emil Buehler Conservation laboratory at the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, Virginia.
This workshop is being offered as a professional development opportunity following the conference Aluminum: History, Technology and Conservation, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, April 7-9, 2014. Please note that the workshop has been extended to one-and-a-half days.
The workshop will focus on the identification of aluminum alloys, explore surface finishes and chemical treatments applied to aluminum, and discuss options for the corrosion inhibition of aluminum. The workshop is presented by a group of conservators and scientists, all experienced with the identification and treatment of aluminum. Hands-on practical sessions, lectures, presentations, and discussions will provide conservators, collection managers, restorers and others responsible for the care and conservation of objects made from aluminum with a better understanding of this unique material.
Instructors: Malcolm Collum, Chief Conservator, Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory at the National Air and Space Museum; David Hallam; Conservator and Metallic Heritage Consultant, Australia; ICOM-CC Metal Working Group Coordinator; Bruce Hinton, Adjunct Professor, Corrosion Science, Monash University, Australia; Bruce Kaiser, Chief Scientist, Bruker Elemental, U.S.A.
DAY 1 (April 10) 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Module 1: Guided visit of the Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory and the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar
Malcolm Collum. Chief Conservator, Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory at the National Air and Space Museum.
The workshop will begin with a guided visit of the Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory and the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at NASM’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. The visit will explore the facilities and provide an overview of the history of aluminum treatments on large-scale artifacts at NASM. The discussion will include evolving philosophical approaches towards preservation and environmental restrictions on established treatment methodologies and how these issues present new challenges for the conservation of aluminum in
Module 2: Finishes and surface treatment of aluminum alloys
David Hallam, Conservator and Metallic Heritage Consultant, Australia; ICOM-CC Metal Working Group Coordinator, in collaboration with conservators from the National Air and Space Museum.
Module objectives: This module will explore the surface of aluminum alloys and identify chemical surface treatments and finishes applied to aluminum. David will give a conservator’s perspective on historical surface treatments and finishes and their identification, including those applied for aesthetic as well as anti-corrosion properties. Differences in treatments by country of origin will also be explained. This introduction will include a review of approximately 20 historic coatings and the potential impact of treatment on these finishes. A study of representative examples with hands-on testing and analysis will familiarize attendees with the various materials, modes of deterioration and their typical utilization on artifacts.
• Identify basic coating types on aluminum
• Understand the effects of different surface treatments on an object’s stability
• Understand the effects of aggressive intervention on the surface of aluminum
• Implement strategies to conserve original surfaces on aluminum
Module 3: Practical application of surface washing, surfactants, and corrosion inhibitors for the corrosion prevention of aluminum alloys
Dr. Bruce Hinton, Adjunct Professor, Corrosion Science, Monash University Australia.
Module objectives: This module will deal with corrosion on aluminum alloys. Bruce Hinton has spent a long career developing strategies, processes and procedures to deal with this problem on military aircraft structures, and he will attempt to show how conservators might use some of these approaches. This module will cover the various methods of preventing corrosion, including protective coatings, washing, use of corrosion inhibiting compounds and dehumidification, techniques for corrosion removal, techniques for measuring surface salt contamination and methods for treating existing corrosion. The presenter will make extensive use of photographs of various corrosion problems and treatment videos.
• Identify the various types of corrosion common to aluminum alloys
• Be aware of protective coatings and how they work
• Understand how protective coatings fail
• Understand methods for corrosion removal
• Choose methods to arrest the growth of existing corrosion without total removal
DAY 2 (April 11) 8:30 am to 12:30 pm
Module 4: Challenges and advantages of using portable XRF for low mass elemental analysis in both metal alloys and oxide forms, and portable FTIR for analysis of molecular structure.
Dr. Bruce Kaiser, Chief Scientist, Bruker Elemental, U.S.A., in collaboration with conservators from the National Air and Space Museum.
Module objectives: Identification and elemental characterization of aluminum alloys and their variation over time, and the analysis of the molecular structure of the corrosion products of aluminum. Bruker will provide several handheld XRF and FTIR devices for hands-on testing. Participants are invited to bring test samples for XRF and FTIR analysis. Previous experience with XRF required.
• Understand the principles of XRF and FTIR analysis
• How to choose the correct filter, voltage and current selection for optimum XRF analysis of aluminum alloys
• Identify the factors affecting the analysis of aluminum
• Perform hands-on analysis of a variety of aluminum alloy samples using XRF and FTIR techniques
• Interpretation of the data
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The workshop is generously sponsored by Clive Cussler, the National Center for Preservation Training and Technology, and Bruker Elemental.
Claudia Chemello, Malcolm Collum, Paul Mardikian, Joe Sembrat, Lisa Young
Funding for this workshop comes from Bruker Elemental, Clive Cussler, and the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT). International speaker travel is supported by a grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Many thanks to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the International Council of Museums Committee for Conservation Metal Working Group for their contributions of time, expertise, and space. Additional support comes from the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works Endowment for Professional Development, which was created by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and donations from members of the American Institute for Conservation and its friends. Courses are made possible with the assistance of many AIC members, but no AIC membership dues were used to create or present this course.
Thanks to our program sponsors: