Plastics that made history - The contribution of conservation science for the history of the Portuguese Plastics Industry

Susana França de Sá, Sara Marques da Cruz, Maria Elvira Callapez, Vânia Carvalho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The plastic objects from our cultural heritage are material testimonies of our history, technology and industry. Still, in Portugal, there is no museum of plastics, and the collections are spread through private collectors and industries. The research project, "The Triumph of Bakelite - Contributions to a History of Plastics in Portugal", aims at creating this museum. To this end, the research work gave rise to the exhibition, "Plasticity - A History of Plastics in Portugal", in Museu de Leiria in 2019. This study focuses on the contribution of conservation science for the writing of this history and preparation of ca. 150 historical plastic objects for display. Bakelite, melamine, polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene and plasticized polyvinyl chloride are just a few examples of the polymers identified by infrared spectroscopy. This identification was crucial to tell the history of the plastics industry in Portugal. Both the spectra and characteristic absorption bands of each polymer are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-100
Number of pages16
JournalConservar Patrimonio
Volume35
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Historical plastics Portuguese Industry History of technology Infrared spectroscopy Conservation and restoration

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