When we perform a condition check, early signs of degradation can include (http://www.modip.ac.uk/resources/curators_guide/care_plastics):
- bloom, a white powder of the surface
- corrosion of metal parts or surrounding objects
- crazing and cracking
- discoloured or shredded packaging materials
- distortion of the shape of the object
- smells: mothballs (camphor), sweetness, vinegar, vomit, rancid butter
- surface stickiness
- haze, a wet acidic deposit on the surface
Stylo platform shoes showing the plasticiser, adipic acid, having migrated to the surface.
Although this is an interesting project, deterioration in the MoDiP objects is actually quite rare due to our preventative conservation measures and regular condition checking. Every time an object is removed from storage it is given a visual assessment and no sooner have we completed one year’s sample check it is time to start again.
Katherine Pell, (MoDiP Administrator)