44th Annual Meeting – Book & Paper Session, May 17, "Soft Matter: Gel development for conservation treatment," Mylène Leroux

Following Hughes and Sullivan’s talk,  Mylène Laroux, Master 2 Student at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, reiterated the composition and advantages of gellan gum other rigid gel systems, highlighting the fact that they are simpler and safer for both the object and the conservator. She then compared these physical gel systems to the newly-developed Nanorestore® gel.
Nanorestore® gel was developed by the Nanoforart project, whose main objective, according to their website, is “the development and experimentation of new nano-materials and responsive systems for the conservation and preservation of movable and immovable artworks.” Nanorestore® is a chemical gel with high internal cohesion. It is available in pre-made sheets which are ready to use for aqueous treatment or they can be soaked in organic polar solvents for 12 hours and then used as a solvent gel. As with other gel systems, the Nanorestore® (soaked in ethanol) allowed Leroux to perform local adhesive stain removal without the formation of tidelines. Initial studies indicate that Nanorestore® has higher liquid retention rate than the polysaccaride gels. It’s also a sustainable option, since the gel can be placed back into solvent and reused multiple times.
At this time, Nanorestore® is not widely available and only comes in a few small sizes, so practical application in paper conservation labs is currently limited. However, it’s exciting to see new products being developed and tested, since we conservators are always looking to expand our toolboxes.