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Applied Research

Conservation Branch Utah Magnification

A magnification of the USS Utah bell during conservation treatment shows the results of micro-abrasive blasting on the right side vs. untreated surface on the left side of the image. CO’s conservators tested a number of treatment options to find one that removed corrosion without stripping the natural patina and wear of the bell from USS Utah’s sea service, including World War I, a decade as a target ship, and notably, several years underwater after capsizing during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Our conservators analyze and research artifacts in the collection to identify their unique composition and to tailor conservation treatments to each object, including the selection of appropriate methods and requisite chemicals.

During this process we sometimes find materials or corrosion products that resist identification or straightforward conservation treatments.

Areas of research include:

  • Bell metals (copper and ferrous alloys)
  • Textile dyes
  • Analytical Capabilities:
  • Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM)
  • X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF)
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
  • Raman Spectroscopy
  • Multiband Imaging

Conservation Branch Cotton Fibers

The polarized light microscope displays a sample of cotton fibers from Admiral of the Navy George Dewey’s dress blue tailcoat lining.

Conservation Branch Vietnamese Sign Paint Chip

A magnified cross-section of a paint chip sample from the Saginaw gig shows eleven layers of paint under visible light (left side) and ultraviolet (right side) light.

Published: Thu Feb 18 13:43:57 EST 2021