PLASTICINE AS A DESIGN MATERIAL. TECHNICAL INVESTIGATION AND SUITABLE CONSERVATION TREATMENTS
BY TIM BECHTHOLD
Research on Plasticine and its applications through the recent history was necessary to study and plan the conservation treatments of a group of car models, realized in Germany during the 1930s. Due to its recent origin, Plasticine is still almost unknown as a design material in the conservation literature, and various testing and analysis had to be considered. Therefore FT-IR spectroscopy, Raman microscopy and Py-Gas-Chromatography analysis were run on samples from both the car models and contemporary Plasticine for the car industry. The chemical analysis showed that Plasticine is a wax-based modelling clay, which commonly contains inorganic fillers, various additives and a very complex organic component.
The characteristic damages shown by the car models have been classified and analyzed separately; the research identified several major conservation problems, which required immediate attention. Various suitable cleaning, consolidating and filling procedures were considered. The research contains recommendations for preventive conservation, regarding storing, transporting and exhibiting conditions.
A 3D documentation of the models was realized using the laser scanning technique, which allows the conservators to have a precise, digital reconstruction of the Plasticine artifacts without danger of further damages.