Because Polyjet printing is relatively new, conservators have not yet studied the degradation of Polyjet printed materials, thus ensuring a challenging and engaging technical study for Caitlin. Through scientific analysis, in addition to artist and printer interviews, she gained a thorough understanding of Polyjet printed materials and the complicated artwork, Gemini. Her material analysis suggested that Polyjet printed materials should be stable over time, with some aesthetic and mechanical changes to be expected. However, some of the printed nodules on Gemini had changed in color, appearing slightly yellowed. Her research indicated that the yellowing is due primarily to residual printer support material present on the nodules. This material degrades rapidly in comparison to the Polyjet printed nodules and affects their material stability over time.
Caitlin’s technical study has included time in the lab doing scientific analysis in an effort to learn more about the properties of the Polyjet printed materials used in the chaise, a study of different types of adhesives used to adhere the nodules to the chaise, and an Oddy test to learn how Polyjet printed materials off-gas and affect other objects in storage. Caitlin looks forward to returning to SFMOMA and treating Gemini, but she has also loved the problem solving and detective work that have been part of her technical study. She knows that it is all a good omen of the career that lies ahead of her as an art conservator.
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