What is the condition of the collection?

During ageing, many plastic artefacts exhibit typical deterioration patterns. Any modification of the physical or chemical properties may lead to loss of stability of the overall formulation.

This causes blooming and exudation at the polymer surface of some chemicals. A survey form was established, and conservators investigated collections of plastics based objects in order to assess the most common visible deterioration problems found in these collections. Chemical and physical degradation in the form of discoloration, change in opacity, crazes, cracks or changes to surface texture and distortion were documented.

Five museum collections were selected for surveying. Such surveys help to determine future priority and to provide samples for analysis of degradation products or for cleaning tests. It serves as a reference to assess frequency and type of deteriorations found in collections. Analyses were carried out to identify the nature of deposit found on some objects and any off gassing products. An object constituted of different polymers in a shape of a doll so called ‘Polly’ was conceived in the framework of the project and display in order to assess and monitor changes and degradations during natural ageing in different environmental conditions.