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Archives and Museums


Sustainable solutions for museum conservation, film cleaning, fire protection

Protecting valuable artifacts and specimens from the ravages of fire, environmental degradation – and time – presents a unique and complex set of challenges. For example, when evaluating chemical products used in library and museum conservation and protection, it's just as important to know what a product won't do as what it will do.

First and foremost, chemistries that come into contact with books, documents, films, artwork, biological tissues, textiles and other delicate materials must effectively do their work, without altering or causing additional damage to the items they protect. And today, there is also a need for products whose environmental and worker safety characteristics can provide a long-term, sustainable solution.

Designed to protect people, valuable artifacts and the environment

3M™ Novec™ Products are a family of nonflammable, non ozone-depleting compounds, designed to address the need for safe, effective, sustainable solutions in wide range of critical applications. Because of their unique combination of properties, several Novec products are uniquely suited to the needs of museums, archives, libraries and research facilities.

Novec products are inert, electrically non-conductive and non-corrosive materials that are used by businesses and institutions around the world – including the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution and the Alamo – to protect and preserve irreplaceable documents and objects. These applications include:

Biological specimen preservation

3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids have been successfully used as alcohol and formaldehyde alternatives for storing rare and often fragile animal specimens. Novec fluids are nonflammable, low in toxicity, non ozone-depleting and have a relatively low global warming potential. Novec fluids do not damage delicate tissues, remain crystal clear over time and have demonstrated an ability to preserve the natural color of specimens better than alcohol.

Read more about preserving biological specimens using Novec fluids

Document and book preservation

Novec fluids are being successfully used in a new technique for the deacidification of printed materials, manuscripts, photographs, textiles and other items. Novec fluids are an ideal choice for book preservation because they do not damage or discolor delicate papers or bindings, or cause inks to run or fade. Their extremely low surface tension allows treatment chemicals to penetrate deeply into the substrate, for more complete protection. Novec fluids are nonflammable and evaporate quickly and completely, leaving no residue of their own behind.

Read more about document and book preservation using Novec fluids

Film Cleaning

3M™ Novec™ 8200 Engineered Fluid is an effective, sustainable perchloroethylene (perc) alternative for high-speed cleaning of motion picture film. When used in specially-designed ultrasonic cleaning equipment, Novec 8200 fluid has proven to be an excellent film cleaner, with performance equal to or better than perc, and is compatible with a wide range of film substrates, including negative stock, archival film and nitrate stock. It is also exempt from the U.S. EPA definition of a volatile organic compound (VOC).

Read more about film cleaning using Novec fluids

Museum and library fire protection

3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid is ideal for protecting high-value assets – including paper documents, electronic media, film and fine arts – that are vulnerable to conventional water, foam and dry chemical extinguishing agents. This low global-warming clean agent is designed to extinguish fires quickly, before they have a chance to spread.

Read more about museum and library fire protection using Novec 1230 fluid

 

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