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Preliminary study on analysis and removal of wax from a Carrara marble statue.

Natural product research (2015-11-28)
Salvatore Barreca, Maurizio Bruno, Lorena Oddo, Santino Orecchio
ABSTRACT

This preliminary study has mainly focused on the wax identification by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and removal. Wax is used for many purposes in the field of art as protective coatings on wooden, stone or metal objects. From the comparison of the spectra H NMR and in particular with the correspondence of the resonance peaks of the samples taken from the statue and beeswax and paraffin, we can conclude that the wax applied on the statue surface is beeswax. From our data, it can be concluded that, to remove the beeswax, from any stone support, the more effective solvent is the mixture of cyclohexane/ethyl acetate. The removal percentages ranged from 19 to 99%. Lower percentages of removal have been observed in the case of yellow marble, probably because of its high porosity. We can affirm that, this solvent mixture can be employed in real art objects using cotton swabs to remove protective wax.