Odor Control >> Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire

Bird and animal mounts on display in the RSM upper-level Life Sciences Gallery were covered with a heavy soot layer. Extensive cleaning tests were done in the conservation laboratory, and results were evaluated by visual examination through a binocular operating microscope. Under microscopic examination, it was evident that the intricate structure of the feathers had trapped soot on the surface, Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire between the barbules of the top feathers. 

In some cases, the soot had migrated through the uppermost feather mat onto feathers below. To avoid breaking up soot agglomerations and driving soot deep into the feather mat, Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire a Plexiglas wand vacuum nozzle was developed. The design of the wand was based on the design of a dental evacuator that had been reported in the literature for the effective cleaning of feathers (Green and Storch 1982).

The wand, shown in figure 11, was constructed from a hollow Plexiglas cylinder capped at the top end with a piece of Plexiglas. The cylinder has two rows of extraction holes drilled along the side of the wand near the tip, Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire allowing free movement over curved parts of birds of any size. A piece of nylon butterfly-net fabric was welded into a tube using a hot point slipped over the wand, positioned between two recessed rubber O-rings. 

The netting rotates freely over the extraction holes to prevent feathers from being drawn into the wand holes. The bottom of the wand is connected by Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire flexible hose tubing to a vacuum cleaner equipped with a high-efficiency particle air (HEPA) filter. Suction is varied by covering and uncovering a large suction control hole.

Figure 12shows the vacuum wand being used to remove heavy soot layers from a Canada goose. The wand removed about 85% of visible soot (viewed through a binocular microscope) from feathers, Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire with no disruption to the structure. A photographic detail of the vacuum wand being used to clean a snow goose is shown infigure 13.

Dry-surface-cleaning methods were tested to remove further soot from the feathers. The most successful methods were the use of Groom/Stick applied by hand or on the end of an applicator stick, and Webril Wipe wound in 1 in. wide strips onto a long wood applicator stick. Next, Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire wet-cleaning agents were tested for use. 

They were applied barely dampened on a pad of Webril along the direction of feather growth. Water-based solutions were unsuccessful because they left a lightly gray appearance, excessive tide lines, Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire moderate to severe disarticulation, and some matting of feather barbs. Alkaline solutions caused yellowing of the feathers. 

The most effective cleaning solution was 1% Vulpex in trichloroethylene, which removed approximately 60% of remaining soot (assessed visually under a binocular operating microscope) with little effect on feather structure. The proven ability of this solvent to remove natural constituents from the feathers and skin must, however, Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire be taken into account (Fuchs 1980). 

Ethanol and pure trichloroethylene removed approximately 50% of the soot remaining after vacuuming; ethanol left no coloration on the swab, indicating that the soot may have been pulled toward the evaporating edges (tide lines could be minimized through careful technique). As Vulpex is no longer recommended for feather cleaning, Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire pure solvents may be used instead. 

Removal of Soot from Mammals Removal of heavy soot from mammal specimens Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire and furs was much more difficult than anticipated. The problem was that agglomerations of soot broke into fine particles as they filtered through the fur and deposited on the large and textured surface represented by thousands of hair shafts. 

Many of the furs had slightly oily surfaces that attracted and Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire held soot particles.To clean shorter-haired mammals with a light soot coating, direct vacuuming with a crevice tool on a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter removed almost all visible soot. For heavier soot layers, this vacuuming was followed by the use of dry-surface-cleaning, using 13 gauge glass beads dusted onto the fur, rubbed in to collect soot particles, and then vacuumed off (following a technique suggested byHawks 1990). 

For long-haired mammals, only 10% of the visible soot could be removed by vacuuming with a crevice tool; the use of glass beads and Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire other dry cleaners was not possible given the length of the fur. Wet-cleaning agents were tested using several solvents with and without detergents and surfactants as well as commercial mount-cleaning preparations. 

Ethanol and trichloroethylene were the most effective solvents and were used to slightly dampen a Webril pad, Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire which was stroked along the fur in the direction of growth.The RSM fire was particularly sooty, and conservators spent months studying the peculiarities of handling and cleaning soot-damaged objects and carrying out research into postfire cleaning reports cited in the conservation literature. 

They were later able to apply this knowledge to the removal of soot from cultural objects involved in other fires. These experiences have refined general salvage and Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire cleaning procedures that are extremely effective in mitigating the damage caused by soot deposition, particularly if the soot layer to be treated has not been disturbed. 

Recommendations for soot-removal treatments are outlined below, Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire and recommendations for the postdisaster salvage, handling, and temporary storage of sooty objects following a fire are presented in another article in this issue (Spafford-Ricci and Graham 2000).3.1 3.1 CHARACTERISTICS OF SOOT Soot represents the liquid and solid fragments of pyrolysis. 

It may be composed of hundreds of different compounds that will vary depending on the materials that are pyrolyzed in a fire. Regardless of the nature of these compounds, Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire all soot is composed of an oily-tarry matrix combined with carbon and, as such, has predictable characteristics. 

Soot particles in smoke may be as small as 1 μm in diameter and Smoke Smell From Books After A Fire therefore are often not distinguishable under a compound microscope. The substance that is visible to the naked eye is a soot web formed when the oily materials surrounding the carbon black are attracted to one another and form agglomerations.

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