STEP 1Condition analysis before conservation
STEP 2Material analysis
STEP 5Dimensional stabilization
STEP 6Vacuum freeze drying
STEP 7Surface treatment
STEP 8Bonding and restoration
STEP 9Storage and maintenance
STEP 1Condition analysis before conservation Before treating the organic materials, a comprehensive analysis is conducted, which is written in the artifact records card and is photographed. The amount of damage and the structure is assessed through visual inspection, and splintering or small cracks are inspected using a microscope, and infrared and x-ray equipments.
STEP 2Material analysis The methods including moisture content measurement, analysis of species, fiber analysis, and organic analysis are used to inspect decay and conduct component analysis for organic materials.
STEP 3cleaning Cleaning is conducted for contaminants attached on the surface and insides of the organic materials. It is conducted by using solvents such as distilled water, ethanol, etc. and using a cleansing brush, cotton swab, or scraper.
STEP 4Desalinization Organic materials recovered from the seafloor contain large amounts of sodium. The sodium crystallizes according to the atmospheric environment, which may cause damage to the relics. Desalinization is thus conducted in order to prevent damage to the relics.
STEP 5Dimensional stabilization Organic materials uncovered from the seabed appear stable through visual inspection, but the inner cells are decayed and instead filled with moisture. If the moisture evaporates, the form of the relic collapses and shrinks. Dimensional stabilization is thus conducted by replacing the moisture with high molecular substances (PEG, high-quality alcohol, sucrose, etc.).
STEP 6Vacuum freeze drying Organic materials in a state of supersaturation produce surface tension when the moisture evaporates, causing shrinkage. To prevent this, the moisture is frozen and sublimated to gas form in a vacuum state, which dries the relic with minimum damage.
STEP 7Surface treatment For materials which have completed vacuum freeze drying, chemical remnants are removed with a brush, cotton swabbed with ethanol, and surface treatment is conducted using a heat gun.
STEP 8Bonding and restoration Organic materials that have been separated rejoined using epoxy and cyanoacrylate resin, where missing parts are restored using phenol, epoxy resin, and WPC. Restoration treatment is then completed after color treatment. After completion, the state of the relic after treatment is recorded, photographed, and finished by packaging.
STEP 9Storage and maintenance As organic materials are vulnerable to bacteria and insects, regular monitoring and maintenance are required such as by maintaining adequate temperature, humidity, and IPM according to their materials.
Administrative Office Maritime Heritage Research Division