Accurate characterization of “plastic” requires multi-component search strategies.
This is especially critical in the museum context, where the challenge often is to identify and diagnose deteriorating artifacts of unknown composition spanning two centuries of evolving technology.
Raman is a non-destructive tool that distinguishes the constituent compounds, but relies on comprehensive spectral libraries and innovative approaches to reverse engineer mixtures.
In response to this need, 100 polymer and 90 plasticizer reference materials were analyzed using Fourier transform and dispersive Raman spectroscopies.
Project Title: Dating proteinaceous museum specimens Intern: Christopher Rollman, Towson University Advisors: Mehdi Moini This project focused on dating proteinaceous museum specimens using amino acid racemization mass spectrometry techniques.
Using an in-house developed technique combining capillary electrophoresis and mass spectrometry, one can separate isomers of amino acids and compare their relative ratio.
However, material properties also are tied to plasticizers and other components.
Project Title: Using stable isotope mass spectrometry to establish the provenance of human remains from Antebellum United States Intern: Danielle Dunn, George Mason University Advisors: Christine France This research established stable isotopic indicators of demography and origin within the United States by comparing data collected from human remains recovered from the site of the Battle of Glorieta Pass, NM; Ft.
Craig, NM; and Pettus, VA population sets in Antebellum United States.
One concern is the alteration of XRD results due to the pressure applied during ATR-FTIR and potential subsequent damage to the crystal structure.
Another cause for concern is that traces of the adhesive used to mount the sample during XRD could potentially appear on the IR spectrum.
Fourier-transform Raman spectroscopy (FT-Raman) has the potential to non-invasively determine the quality of this collagen before undertaking the rigorous chemistry required to extract it from the bones for IRMS analysis.