The use of cyclododecane as an adhesive for temporary facings in paper conservation

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White, Grace 

In recent years, cyclododecane (CDD) has been introduced into the book and paper conservation field as a temporary consolidant for flaking media and as a temporary fixative for water-sensitive media by the formation of a physical barrier against moisture. CDD is particularly suited to these two applications because of its insolubility in water and its ability to sublime without requiring the use of solvents for removal, leaving no residue on the object. This paper will explore a third possible use of CDD borrowed from the fields of archaeology and objects conservation: as an adhesive in the preparation of temporary facings. Various application techniques will be presented and compared. The effectiveness of the treatment will be addressed with a case study of two 18th-century ornithological gouache paintings on thin, brittle, torn paper fully adhered to acidic backing boards. Because of numerous risk factors involved, particularly during removal of the backing, the objects required the simultaneous consolidation of flaking pigment, the fixing of moisture-sensitive media, and the physical support of a temporary facing. Molten CDD was applied together with a facing layer of non-woven polyester, thus serving three functions at once and allowing the paintings to receive treatment with minimised risk.


This paper is published in the book ‘Subliming Surfaces: Volatile Binding Media in Heritage Conservation’, ed. Christina Rozeik (University of Cambridge Museums, 2018), pp. 83-90.

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University of Cambridge Museums