SEAHA Centre for Doctoral Training


Rose King

PhD student, University College London

Project Title 

The role of plasticiser loss in the degradation of plastic objects in heritage collections

Background & Summary of Project

From our childhood toys to modern art, plastics are prevalent in collections used to record our heritage. However, plastics wear out; becoming discoloured and deformed due to a variety of decay processes involving the polymer and additives used to manufacture the plastic. My background in chemistry now allows me to study the degradation of cellulose acetate and PVC objects, with a particular focus on how the object's physical properties and surrounding environment influence the rate of plasticiser loss. 



King, R., Grau-Bové, J. & Curran, K. Plasticiser loss in heritage collections: its prevalence, cause, effect, and methods for analysisHeritage Science 8, 123 (2020)

Simoní Da Ros, Abil E. Aliev, Isabella del Gaudio, Rose King, Anna Pokorska, Mark Kearney, Katherine Curran, Characterising plasticised cellulose acetate-based historic artefacts by NMR spectroscopy: a new approach for quantifying the degree of substitution and diethyl phthalate contents, Polymer Degradation and Stability (2020)