Archival/Library Materials Testing Services
Image 1: A cold extraction test is used to measure the pH of paper.
Image 2: Many types of paper can be tested.
Image 3: Paper samples are artificially aged in a controlled temperature and humidity chamber.
Image 4: The tensile strength of paper is measured using the Instron tester.
The Institute offers extensive testing services for archival and library materials. These include paper, paper products (file folders, boxes, envelopes, etc.), and paper or plastic enclosures used for the storage of photographs.
The purpose-built paper-testing facilities at CCI include a room with constant temperature and humidity which meets the TAPPI standard for conducting paper tests, a laboratory for chemical tests, and a large array of accelerated ageing chambers for testing long-term stability.
CCI provides a team of research scientists proficient in the testing of archive and library materials. The staff includes former industry and National Archives of Canada personnel with varied experience in the paper and photography field.
CCI can evaluate library and archive materials to see if they meet current conservation standards and can comment on their suitability for conservation and storage purposes. In addition, staff can verify product specifications and provide independent certifications. CCI can also evaluate the mechanical, chemical, and optical properties of various products and assist in solving problems related to library and archive materials. Mechanical properties such as resistance to folding, tearing, and breaking are used to measure the strength or changes in strength of the materials. Chemical properties such as pH and alkaline reserve are used to evaluate the composition. Optical properties are measured to determine changes in brightness and colour. The following testing services are available:
- MIT fold endurance
- Instron tensile: tensile strength, elongation, tensile energy absorption, brittleness index
- zero span tensile
- Elmendorf tear
- cold extraction pH
- alkaline reserve
- moisture content
- Cobb sizing test
- fibre identification
- other tests may be available upon request
- colour measurements
Photographic Activity Test (ISO 18916)
This test is used to determine whether or not the paper or plastic enclosures protecting photographic images are suitable for conservation and storage purposes. It can also be used to evaluate the effect of adhesives, inks, paints, labels, and tapes on these images.
Accelerated Ageing of Samples
Accelerated ageing is used to predict the long-term stability of materials. It can also be used to study the possible long-term effects of various treatments (e.g. deacidification) on library and archive materials. This is carried out in environmental chambers under controlled temperature and humidity conditions.
Clients who can benefit from these services include:
- collection managers in archives, libraries, and museums
- purchasers, manufacturers, and suppliers of "archival" products