AICCM Symposium 2006, Conservation of Paper, Books and Photographic Materials. Post-prints and Posters. 19-21 April 2006, Wellington, New Zealand. p80-96
In paper conservation chemical bleaching is considered a cosmetic procedure to remove or diminish disfiguring stains present on the object. However, it is difficult to confine the action of the bleach to the stains, and the components that make up the object may also be changed or damaged. Of all the bleaches available, an alkaline solution of hydrogen peroxide is considered the best oxidative bleaching agent because of its low impact on the cellulose substrate. This research investigates the use of the activator tetraacetylethylenediamine (TAED) in conjunction with hydrogen peroxide. TAED is currently used in the paper industry in the bleaching of pulp. Literature from the paper industry suggests that its inclusion in the bleaching process has distinct advantages over the use of hydrogen peroxide alone, especially in terms of pH tolerance, bleaching efficiency and retention of fibre strength. The objective of the work described here is to explore the possibility of using this activator in paper conservation. Tests were made using alkaline solutions of hydrogen peroxide with and without TAED, and analysis of the results shows that the presence of TAED enhances the bleaching effect and might allow bleaching to be performed at neutral pH conditions.