Hydrogels – a desirable alternative to water paper restoring procedures: impacting paper properties
Water immersion is a common practice for treating paper media. However, this treatment could irreversibly damage paper and the information written on it – such procedures are advised if the documents do not contain water-resistant components such as inks or paints and the form is mechanically stable. Thus, polymeric materials are an attractive alternative to water immersion cleaning. Various polymers are used to produce hydrogels, but there is not much information on cleaning effects before and after aging. Due to their highly rigid properties, Kelcogel, TopVision Agarose and PhytagelTM hydrogels could be applied to clean fragile paper media instead of water immersion. The hydrogel could safely clean without any residue or change of paper properties. Selected polymers were analysed for composition, water discharge and acidity according to the corresponding requirements for restoration processes: to establish changes in chemical and physical paper properties after hydrogel cleaning, filter paper samples were analysed with SEM, TGA, FTIR and pH-meter and compared to the benchmarks of filter paper cleaned with distilled water.