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The formation of chemical degraders during the conservation of a wooden tudor shipwreck

DOI: 10.1002/cplu.202000160 DOI Help

Authors: Esther Rani Aluri (University College Dublin) , Corentin Reynaud (École Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay) , Helen Bardas (Technological Educational Institute of Athens) , Eleonora Piva (University of Portsmouth) , Giannantonio Cibin (Diamond Light Source) , J. Frederick W. Mosselmans (Diamond Light Source) , Alan Chadwick (University of Kent) , Eleanor J. Schofield (The Mary Rose Trust)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Chempluschem , VOL 62

State: Published (Approved)
Published: May 2020
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 10104

Abstract: Determining the nature, evolution, and impact of acid‐generating sulfur deposits in the Mary Rose wooden hull is crucial for protecting Henry VIII's famous warship for generations to come. Here, a comprehensive X‐ray absorption near‐edge spectroscopy (XANES) and X‐ray fluorescence (XRF) study sheds vital light on the evolution of complex sulfur‐based compounds lodged in Mary Rose timbers as a function of drying time. Combining insights from infrared spectroscopy correlates the presence of oxidized sulfur species with increased wood degradation via the loss of major wood components (holocellulose). Intriguingly, zinc is found to co‐exist with iron and sulfur in the most degraded wood regions, indicating its potential contributing role to wood degradation. This study provides crucial information on the degradation processes and resulting products within the wood, which can be used to develop remediation strategies to save the Mary Rose.

Journal Keywords: degradation; heritage science; wood; X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy; X-ray fluorescence imaging

Subject Areas: Chemistry, Archaeological and Cultural Heritage


Instruments: B18-Core EXAFS