Click for next page ( 93


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 92
Practically all inanimate materials are subject to some deterioration caused by both normal components of the environment and contaminants of human origin. Deteriora- tion of materials due to polluticn is extensive and costly; so, however, is the damage caused by nonpollutants such as sunlight, cold, or mildew. It is extremely difficult to assign exact dollar costs to deterioration of materials (see Waddell 1974), but some estimates of pollution-linked damages range as high as $3.8 billion per year (Council on Environmental Quality 1975). The value may be inestimable when the materials damaged are irreplaceable monuments, works of art, rare books and manuscripts, and historic documents. Many materials affected by deterioration are also critical to national defense and to important manu- facturing, transportation, and communication capabilities. The most significant pollutants in terms of deteriora- tion of materials are the acidic sulfur and nitrogen oxides, photochemical oxidants and ozone, hydrogen sulfide, some particulate substances, and a few other acids, bases, ard salts. These may act individually, in combinations, or in concert with moisture, temperature changes, and other natu- ral environmental variables. INSTITUTIONAL AFRANGEKEKTS of TTresearch_on_the_eff ects_gf _e mental_Bg^lutarits on mater 4§ls .should Is_§ssigned_to_a_sinc[le_|edera|_a2ency.. Substantial research on the deterioration of materials and on the prevention of deterioration has been conducted by the federal government and by industry, especially since 1940. Government activity in this area was stimulated largely by World War II, and later by the space program. Within the federal government, materials research has been dispersed among the various agencies whose missions are adversely influenced by deterioration of materials, such - 92 -

OCR for page 92
as the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Eureau of Standards, the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and the National Science Foundation. For more than 20 years, the National Academy of Sciences maintained a Prevention of Deterioration Center that included advisory and service groups (Greathouse and Wessel 1954), but it dropped the effort in 1965 because of insufficient financial support.* The division of responsibility and consequent fragmen- tation of materials research has inevitably led to over- lap in efforts and to inefficient use of available knowl- edge. In our judgment, the most urgent needs in the area of effects on materials are for improved coordination of research, and for more effective dissemination of existing knowledge. These needs should take priority over research cn specific deterioration problems discussed below. Lead responsibility for research on the effects of pol- lutants on materials should be assigned to a single federal agency, probably the National Bureau of Standards. The role of the lead agency need not include conduct of the entire research and development effort, but it should include coor- dination of programs of various agencies and operation of a system for gathering and distributing information on materi- als damage and its prevention. Konitoring the environment to locate and identify deterioration hazards would be a very important element of such a coordinated program, and might best be performed by EPA. CORROSION OF METALS corrosion of metals and the development 9? proteg^j.ve measures. Many metals, especially steels, and also some light metals such as aluminum, are susceptible to corrosion by acidic agents. Extensive research has been carried out for many years by government, industry, and research insti- tutes on the causes, mechanisms, and costs of metal cor- rosicn (see for example Fink et al. 1971, Gillette 1973). Despite this research, corrosion continues to exact its toll because of the continued use of susceptible materials, the lack of suitable protective measures, and a failure to apply available knowledge to prevent corrosion. The precise dol- lar cost of corrosion caused by envirormental pollutants is unknown; but the total cost of corrosion is enormous, ar.d prevention of even part of the corrosion due to pollutants would be a great step forward. There is therefore a sound - 93 -

OCR for page 92
economic incentive for additional federal government research on corrosion, to supplement that being done by industry. The needed research includes: • studies of physical and chemical mechanisms of different forms of corrosion; • development of improved protective systems, such as coatings and cathodic protection; and • wider dissemination and use of present knowledge about preventive or corrective systems within government, industry, and other domestic users of susceptible metals. DETERIORATION OF ORGANIC MATERIALS Ajdj,tigna} processes shculd be developed i2 prevent deterioration of critical Almost all organic materials are subject to some deteri- oration by environmental pollutarts. Among the important materials affected are cotton, wcol, paper, leather, plas- ticizers, polymers such as natural and synthetic rubbers, plastics and synthetic fibers, ard protective and decora- tive coatings such as paints, enamels, varnishes and lac- quers. Deterioration may take the form of bleaching, stiffening, cracking, loss of strength, peeling, or any other charge that leads to disintegration and loss of ability tc carry out the functions for which the materi- als were made or chosen. Photochemical smog is particularly important in deteri- oration of organic materials. Ozone, organic peroxide nitrogen compounds, and oxides of nitrogen are the photo- chemical pollutants that do the most damage (Wessel 1972). A considerable amount of research has been performed on deterioration of organic materials, but the problem is still far from understood or ameliorated. Many of the materials susceptible to such damage are objects or articles whose useful lives are normally expected tc be short. Neverthe- less, prolonging the life of some of these materials by 50 to 100 percent would save many millions of dollars per year. Kany of the materials affected are used by private industry to make short-lived products for sale to the gener- al public (Mueller and Stickney 1970, Gillette 1974). Some of the same materials are also used, however, in such item.s as textiles, plastics, paper products, and coatings, that are required in large quantities by the military. The prob-

OCR for page 92
lem of deterioration of organic materials used in natioral defense should be critically reviewed, in our judgment, so that federal research funds may be assigned appropriately to basic research in this critical area. EFFECTS ON IRREPLACEAELE CEJECTS Addii^onal_resear.ch_shouj.d_ibe_dcn.e_to works of Tart, rare_books<_manuscrj.pt.sc " Ceterioraticn of the organic materials used in most works of art, books, manuscripts, and historic documents is a problem of very large dimensions. In one notable example, about ten percent of the two irillion volume col- lection of the New York Public Library Reference Depart- ment has been damaged by pollution (Wessel 1972). Fare paintings, tapestries, ether objects of art, ard bocks ard manuscripts in all parts cf the world must be carefully protected to preserve them fcr future generations (Plenderleith and Werner 1971). Research on conservation and preservation methods has beer conducted for many years; in the United States the federal effort has centered mainly in the Library.cf Congress, the National Archives, and the Smithsonian Institution. This laudable work is expensive, and funds have been too limited to support an adequate research program. This research should be expanded, and additional funds should be made available to the responsi- ble federal agencies for conservation and preservation pro- grams based on protective measures that are developed. Statues, monuments, and buildings composed of stone or other inorganic materials also may be susceptible to deteri- oration by environmental pollutarts (Riederer 1971). Pro- longed exposure to acidic pollutants can erode, crumble, cr weaken the structure of many stone objects. The most effective way to alleviate further deterioration of this type would be to reduce levels of environmental pollutants. Until this is done, research is reeded or methods cf pro- tection and restoration that can prevent the loss of such irreplaceable historic objects. - 95 -

OCR for page 92
NOTE Ihe Departments cf the Army, Navy, and Air Force sup- ported the program from 19<*5 through 1965. The program concentrated on the investigation of chemical mechanisms for prevention of deterioration. Additional information is available in the Archives of the National Academy of Sciences. - 96 -

OCR for page 92
Council or Environmental Quality (1975) Environmental Cuality—1975. The Sixth Annual Report of the Council of Environmental Quality. Washington, C.C.: U.S. Government Printing office. Fink, F.W., F.H. Buttner, and W.F. Eoyd (1971) Technical- Economic Evaluation of Air Pollution Corrosion Costs on Metals in the United States. Final Feport to the Environmental Protection Agercy, CFA-70-86. Columbus, Ohio: Eattelle Memorial Institute; PE-198 453. Springfield, Va.: National Technical Informatior Service. Gillette, D.G. (1974) Sulfur Dioxide Standards and Material Carnage. Paper 74-170, presented at the 67th Annual Meeting of the Air Pollution Control Association. June 9-13, 1974, Denver, Colorado. Denver, Colo.: Air Pollution Control Association. Greathouse, G.A. and C.J. Wessel (1954) Deterioration of Materials, Causes and Preventive Techniques. New York: Feinhold. Mueller, W.J. and P.B. Stickney (1970) A Survey and Economic Assessment of the Effects of Air Pollution on Elastc- irers. Final Report to the National Air Pollution Control Administration, U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare, Contract Number CPA 22-69-116- Columbus, Ohio: Eattelle Memorial Institute. Flenderleith, H.J. and A.E.A. Werner (1971) The conservation cf Antiquities and Works of Art. Seccnd Edition. London: Oxford University Press. Piederer, J. (1971) Die Zerstorurg vor Kunstwerken durch luftverunreiniger.de Stoffe [The destruction cf works of art by air pollution], Schonere Heimat 60:44-47. (In German). - 97 -

OCR for page 92
Waddell, I.E. (1974) The Economic Damages of Air Pollution. Washington Environmental Research Center, Office of Pesearch and Development, Uȣ, Environmental Protection Agency. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Wessel, C.J. (1972) Deterioration of Library Materials. Pages 69-120, Encyclopedia of Library and Informaticn Science, Volume 7. Edited by A. Kent. New York: Marcel Eekker. - 98 -