Date Awarded

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.Sc.)




Tyler K Meldrum

Committee Member

John C Poutsma

Committee Member

Nathanael M Kidwell


Acrylic emulsion paint is one of the most common media employed by 20th century painters. Since early acrylic paintings have begun to require the attention of conservators, scientists are working to characterize the properties of these paints to facilitate conservation efforts. In this study, we report an investigation of the physical and chemical properties of acrylic emulsion paints using single-sided NMR in conjunction with gloss measurements and scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive spectrometry. Combining the data from these techniques gives insight into pigment-binder interactions and the acrylic curing process, showing that as pigment concentration is increased in paints, the amount of binder adsorbed to pigment particles increases, resulting in films with differing relaxation times. Furthermore, pigments with a larger surface area or smaller particle size will have a greater effect on physical properties as concentration increases. This research emphasizes the efficacy of NMR relaxometry in studying cultural heritage objects, and may prompt further study into the effects of pigment concentration on the curing and conservation of acrylic paint films.



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