Understanding the Mechanical Behavior of Library and Archive Materials with Changes in Relative Humidity

Al Carver-Kubik

A 40-minute presentation followed by 30 minutes of Q&A held on Monday, 5 October 2020, 5–6:10 p.m. ET, via Zoom.

Due to Zoom’s restrictions, this event is limited to the first 300 people who register. Registration has now closed; please direct any inquiries to rbs-events@virginia.edu. The event will be recorded and made available for viewing on the RBS YouTube channel.

The Image Permanence Institute (IPI) has been studying the chemical and mechanical stability of collection materials for 30 years. One area of focus has been on the rate of moisture equilibration of library and archive materials. That research has led IPI to understand that it may take weeks or even months for an entire bound volume to equilibrate to a change in ambient relative humidity. However, experiential evidence demonstrates that the outer layer, or “skin,” of a book can react quickly to certain environmental changes leading to potential mechanical deformation. Studying the mechanical behavior of books is particularly challenging as they are three-dimensional, complex, composite objects made of diverse materials and constructed in a variety of ways.

In this talk, IPI Research Scientist and RBS faculty member Al Carver-Kubik will discuss how the institute is using a photogrammetry technique called Digital Image Correlation (DIC) to further our understanding of the mechanical behavior of common library and archive materials as well as the “skin” of bound volumes. At IPI, individual materials such as paper, book cloth, leather, and parchment are tested, as well as bound volumes that range in date from the early eighteenth century to the late twentieth century. IPI tests book samples bound with a variety of materials and in varying structures, including tight back, hollow back, and perfect bindings in full, half, and quarter leather, cloth, and paper, as well as full vellum bindings. Carver-Kubik will share how DIC allows for the study of dimensional changes in two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects. A random dot pattern is applied to the test material and imaged in stereo. Software analyzes the images and measures dimensional displacement within the material producing 2-D and 3-D strain models. Of particular interest is the correlation between moisture transfer and strain, and the amount of strain experienced in bound volumes with changes in environment. This data can help determine the upper and lower limits of relative humidity necessary to avoid permanent deformation and will better inform our models for sustainable preservation environmental parameters.

Everyone is welcome to attend. To ensure the security of the event, advance registration is required. Registration closed at 2 p.m. ET the day of the event.

Your registration will be automatically accepted. You will receive an email reminder the day before the event. The day of the event, we will send you the Zoom URL and password. Please direct any questions to RBS Programs at (rbs-events@virginia.edu).

Follow the conversation on social media using hashtags #RBSOnline and #RBShumidity.


Header Image: Bound volume test samples for Digital Image Correlation, Image Permanence Institute.