Caren Sullivan–November 4th, 2015

This past week I was able to accomplish a ton of goals that I had last week–but still have much left to do as always! I have now characterized my different inks via UV-Vis and IR spectroscopy, as well as pH data. The UV-Vis data shows that the inks are absorbing all colors equally. Obviously, we can see that the inks are black, but this test verifies that the inks aren’t secretly absorbing one color more than the others across the spectrum. Furthermore, it showed that all the inks are displaying the same chromophore behavior. The IRs were similar between the inks, but also showed distinct characteristics of the inks with gum arabic versus the inks with no gum arabic. Overall, most of the spectra displayed broad OH bands from the solvent (water/vinegar), a C=O stretch most likely from the tannic acid and/or vinegar (used in some of the inks). The pH data showed something interesting as well; the gum arabic heightens the pH of the ink (making it a slightly less acidic solution). Overall, the pHs were between 2-3, meaning the ink has the relative acidity of a lemon. Furthermore, I finally ordered my parchment! I did a bit of reading and discovered the process used in medieval times to treat animal skin into parchment. The process involves cleaning the pelt with slaked lime, or calcium hydroxide, which helps cleanse, as well as remove hairs from the pelt. I am relieved this solution was used in medieval times because this is the same acid used by the parchment company today to remove the hair! Lastly, I did research on the grad schools in which I’m interested and formulated one of my emails to a Ph.D. at University of Utah. I plan to get others done by the end of the week. I also emailed Abigail Quandt and Glenn Gates, conservators at the Walters Art Museum, regarding some questions on microsampling as well as a request for an internship this upcoming summer 2016. Overall, I had a very productive week! My goals for next week include taking Raman spectra of my synthesized inks, look further into microsampling, and do more research/work concerning grad schools!

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