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MITRA Forum Question Details

Image Picker for Section 0


  • Scanning electron microscope image of sunken in oil paintApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2017-12-08 05:34:33 ... Most recent comment 2017-12-08 16:32:06
    Oil Paint

    ​Can anyone please point me towards a scanning electron microscope image of the surface of a sunken in oil paint swatch, and preferably an image of a glossy swatch for comparison, that I could use for a teaching slide? Thank you.

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​Very intriguing question for sure :) So first of all I am assuming you are after VERY particular SEM images. Just so other readers have a bit of background, SEM-EDS can be used to generate two types of that can show the distribution of certain elements across the surface of a sample and another that can show the morphology/topography and, in some cases, the general composition of a sample. I am assuming that you are after the latter. With paint samples I am afraid this is a bit of a problem as most of the time paint samples are mounted in a specific manner that involves encasing them in a polyester-based resin (or another type of hard resin that can cure in 24-48 hours). The resin is MEANT to penetrate all of the interstices of the sample to provide a smooth even surface when the paint sample is polished down and to secure the paint in place (SEM-EDS is performed under a vacuum and it would be a sad day if the sample were to get sucked up into the instrument....that would cause damage that can get rather costly). So you would need to find SEM images of paint swatches that have somehow been glued down or afixed to a surface...and then the images would have to be collected in secondary mode of the exposed surface. To be honest I do not think this has been done. But what I can do is put a query out there to the conservation science world to see if I am wrong about that.

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-12-08 11:59:50
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​I happily stand corrected :) One of our moderators Dr. Greg Smith has identified a resource that does indeed possess such images. He is looking into scanning the photos for you...but in the meantime you can try to locate the reference yourself should he prove unsuccessful: Burnstock et al "A pilot application of SEM and hi resolution x-radiography for the conservation of paintings" in Historical technology, materials, and conservation: SEM and Microanalysis 2012.
    This was the conference held at the British Museum, and the proceedings were published by Archetype.

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-12-08 15:17:05
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Thanks Kristin, yes it's the surface topography that I would like to see. My expectation, based on the correlation of sinking in with pigrment grain size, is that a sunken in surface will be uneven due to protrusion of pigment grains. Thanks for explaining why this sort of image is so rare!

    2017-12-08 16:32:06

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