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Preserving cultural heritage with metal organic frameworks

Materials World magazine
16 Sep 2020

Promethean Particles, based in Nottingham, UK, has joined a European consortium to innovate packaging and storage solutions for historical and cultural artefacts. As part of the NEMOSINE Project, Promethean Particles will explore the potential of metal organic frameworks (MOFs).

The highly porous properties of MOFs allows them to adsorb acetic acid, the chemical responsible for degrading cellulose acetate that exists in many 20th century audio and visual artefacts. Many of these are stored in archives and boxes that do not offer adequate protection.

‘When acetic acid is produced, it accelerates the degradation of the artefact even further and, once started, this damage is irreversible. Thousands of photographs, films, posters and slides are lost forever because of this damaging process,’ says Charles Toft, Research Scientist at Promethean Particles.

The NEMOSINE project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and is made up of 16 partner organisations.

In addition to developing MOFs as active acid adsorbers, the project aims to develop high oxygen barrier and active packaging using non-odour additives, gas detection sensors, multi-scale modelling to correlate degradation and sensors signals, and packaging with a modular design to fulfil the technical and economical requirements. It will also improve traditional storage solutions, such as freeze storage (below 5°C), by developing an innovative package.