Analysis of the chemistry of making a leaded linseed oil paint.
Leaded linseed oils are a binder for oil paints used in the authentic restoration and conservation of traditional paintings. Analytical methods were used to investigate the color change which occurs during the 18-day preparation process in which the material becomes a drying oil suitable for application to works of art. Following an 18th century recipe, 5-10% leaded oil was created by heating linseed oil and lead oxide (PbO) and leaving the mixture to sit for 18 days, during which the material changed from dark brown to clear shades of yellow and orange. Samples created with this method were compared to samples created at the Hamilton Kerr Institute at the University of Cambridge, England. Samples were subjected to analysis by GC-MS, FT-IR, and UV-Vis. UV-Vis spectra indicate that the color change during preparation is attributed to a change in the conjugation patterns of the fatty acid components of the oil. These results are consistent with FT-IR data, which did not indicate any changes to the constitutional bonds of the fatty acids.
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