Development of Advanced Compatible Materials for the Restoration of Cultural Heritage Assets (MYTHOS): Artificial Ageing of Bast Fibres.

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For the restoration and preservation of textile cultural heritage objects it is essential to use similar or identical materials for e.g. testing cleaning or restoration processes before treating the unique and irreplaceable originals. Main focus of the MYTHOS project is to develop such reference materials for enhanced restoration and conservation of hemp and linen based ancient arts. The project work started with development of adapted analysis scheme. Due to the nature of the samples analysis methods have to be either non-destructive or restricted to minimal sample amounts. Consequently only small subsamples of the textiles have been taken, e.g. yarn pieces from the hem. Fibre tenacity and elongation have been analysed in a single-element test (dia-stron). The fibre width distribution has been assessed by Fibreshape. In parallel a genetic analysis of original samples was performed to identify actual hemp and flax species close to the ancient varieties. This presentation reports the results obtained from selected original textiles and based on these the development of a scheme for defined artificial ageing for new fibre materials by use of enzymatic treatment. The results are compared to data of actual hemp and flax fibres and differences are discussed.

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... Summed up it can be concluded, that the technical fibres used as modern reference material [8] are much better suitable for artificial ageing than fabrics, because they only need a weak treatment to adapt the properties of the historic materials. The fabrics tested here would need a much more intensive treatment to break down their tenacity, and it would be impossible to make them as coarse as the historic originals are. ...
... The fabrics tested here would need a much more intensive treatment to break down their tenacity, and it would be impossible to make them as coarse as the historic originals are. Thus we recommend performing the artificial ageing on raw fibres [8] rather than in later process steps. ...
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The textiles make up a fragile heritage, continuously exposed to erosion through the natural aging of the fibres, environmental conditions and human actions. The aim of the MYTHOS project is the development of textiles from natural fibers (flax and hemp) which are biologically and technologically similar to the textiles found in heritage collections. A multidisciplinary research, involving specialists in ethnography, physics, molecular biology, chemistry and textile industry started with the analysis of the ethnographic textiles found in the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant’s collection and a study of the traditional methods of cultivation and processing of flax and hemp. The textiles obtained as a result, similar to the heritage textiles, will be tested in restoration work, the results of this project seeking to benefit all the cultural organizations which hold collections of bast fibre textiles.
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Main focus of this paper is the influence of different commercial enzymes in enzymatic hemp separation on the fibre quality. The influence of fibre pre-treatment has to be considered. The results show, that processing parameters from e.g. flax treatment can not easily be transferred to hemp, since there is a different pectin structure. For hemp a fibre pre-treatment by soda improves the efficiency of the subsequent enzymatic step substantially. Tested enzymes comprise pectate lyases like BioPrep™ 3000L, Baylase™ EVO, pectinases like Lyvelin™, Texazym™ BFE and hemicellulases like Texazym™ DLG. Best results in fibre fine separation were obtained by the pure pectinases. The pectate lyases were less efficient in fibre separation and the hemicellulase tends to cause loss of fibre tenacity as undesirable side effect.
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