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Imidazolium-Based Ionic Liquids for the Efficient Treatment of Iron Gall Inked Papers

Authors

  • Gabriele Ceres Dr.,

    1. Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Chimiche, Università di Roma Tor Vergata, Via della Ricerca Scientifica, 00133 Roma (Italy), Fax: (+39) 06 72594328
    2. Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, Aškerčeva 5, 1000 Ljubljana (Slovenia)
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  • Valeria Conte Prof.,

    1. Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Chimiche, Università di Roma Tor Vergata, Via della Ricerca Scientifica, 00133 Roma (Italy), Fax: (+39) 06 72594328
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  • Valentina Mirruzzo Dr.,

    1. Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Chimiche, Università di Roma Tor Vergata, Via della Ricerca Scientifica, 00133 Roma (Italy), Fax: (+39) 06 72594328
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  • Jana Kolar Dr.,

    1. Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, Aškerčeva 5, 1000 Ljubljana (Slovenia)
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  • Matija Strlič Prof.

    1. University College London—Centre for Sustainable Heritage, The Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT (UK)
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Abstract

Iron gall inks have been known since Roman times, were widely used in the Medieval Age, and became the most used ink in the Renaissance period. They were still officially used by the German Government as recently as 1973. The two main constituents of the ink are tannic acid and ferrous sulfate (vitriol). The vitriol normally used was not very pure and likely contained a mixture of iron sulfate with traces of other metals, in particular, copper. Certain transition-metal ions contained in iron gall inks and their acidity are known to deteriorate paper. Therefore, stabilization treatments consist of deacidification and the addition of antioxidants. To this end, the use of tetraalkylammonium bromides was recently proposed. Here, it is shown that 1-butyl-2,3-dimethylimidazolium bromide both in aqueous and in alcoholic solution can prevent the oxidative deterioration of cellulose. Furthermore, it does not lead to the yellowing of paper nor does it significantly affect the colour of the ink.

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