Separating pigments and fillers from the polymer matrix in acrylic colors subjected to natural aging
Department of Materials Science, University of Milano-Bicocca, via Cozzi 55, 20125, Milan, Italy
2 STMicroelectronics, Via Olivetti 2, I-20864, Agrate Brianza (MB), Italy
Accepted: 27 July 2022
Published online: 16 August 2022
Upon aging and exposure to ambient conditions, acrylic colors get dry and the degree of polymerization of the polymer matrix increases due to progressive cross-linking. When interested in studying acrylic colors, separation of the different components, namely matrix, pigments, and fillers, may be particularly useful for their identification and characterization. In the case of aged acrylic colors, as found in artworks themselves or in materials present in artist studios, the separation approaches requiring chemical treatments of fluid samples cannot be applied. To overcome this limit, here a controlled combustion strategy is developed for eliminating the polymer matrix from the color and then recovering a powder made of pigments and fillers, which is analyzed by optical spectroscopy and demonstrated to display the same chromatic/chemical properties of the original color. As a case study, the new method is successfully applied to acrylic colors used by the Italian artist Domenico “Ico” Parisi (1916–1996), found in the original tubes in his studio.
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