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Role of water on formation and structural features of Maya blue

DOI: 10.1088/1742-6596/340/1/012109 DOI Help

Authors: C. Mondelli (CNR-IOM-OGG, Institut Laue Langevin, France) , M. Sánchez Del Río (ESRF, France) , M. A. González (Institut Laue Langevin, France) , A. Magazzú (Institut Laue Langevin, France) , C. Cavallari (Institut Laue Langevin, France) , M. Suárez (Universidad de Salamanca, Spain) , E. García-romero (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain) , P. Romano (Diamond Light Source)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Journal Of Physics: Conference Series , VOL 340

State: Published (Approved)
Published: February 2012

Abstract: The Maya blue (MB) is an artificial pigment created between 500-800 A.D. and used in murals, pottery and sculptures by Mayas and other people in Mesoamerica. MB is resistant to age, acid, weathering, biodegradation and even modern chemical solvents, but the chemical reasons behind the resistance to chemical aggressions are still under debate. Water plays a fundamental role in the interactions between indigo and clay. The dynamics of the clay's zeolitic and structural water molecules during the formation of MB, usually stabilized by moderate heating, has been monitored by means of neutron inelastic scattering. Neutron incoherent scattering in these samples is only due to the hydrogen atoms, so the signal is very sensitive to the amount of released water, providing detailed information on the dehydration process. A simultaneous analysis of the coherent elastic scattering and the incoherent scattering allows observing and quantifying how the structure of the clay is affected by dehydration. Here we show that a quite resistant pigment can be obtained at room temperature simply by dehydrating a palygorskite-indigo mixture employing only vacuum, without any thermal treatment

Journal Keywords: Maya Blue; Biodegradation; Clays; Dehydration; Elastic Scattering; Heat Treatments; Hydrogen; Incoherent Scattering; Indigo; Inelastic Scattering; Mixtures; Molecules; Neutron Diffraction; Solvents; Structural Chemical Analysis; Water; Weathering; Zeolites

Subject Areas: Archaeological and Cultural Heritage, Materials

Facility: ILL