Using Mechanical Tests
We use mechanical tests on laboratory samples to investigate properties of the components used in the construction of panel paintings. By doing so, we are able to examine the mechanisms that give rise to the initiation and propagation of cracks such as those found in the portrait set at Knole.
One particular focus of our tests is to examine the tensile strength of components such as the glue used to join wooden boards.
Testing Bonded Layers
Another focus of our tests is on examining the interfaces between bonded layers. Double cantilever beam (DCB) tests are common experiments in the field of adhesive fracture mechanics, and we make use to investigate this aspect of the construction of the paintings.
The Environmental Chamber
Given our focus on the impact of environmental conditions, it is important that we can perform our laboratory tests in controlled environmental conditions of temperature and relative humidity. To achieve this, we have included the design and build of a bespoke environmental chamber to support our work.