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CafeSci: The Mary Rose: Conserving a Wreck with Nanoscience

Tuesday, 14 May, 2013 - 18:45 to 20:30

The Mary Rose was the flagship of the navy of Henry VIII. Built in 1509 and after an illustrious career sank in Portsmouth Harbour in 1545 in a confrontation with the French fleet. She remained on the seabed until the wreck was re-discovered in 1967 and raised in 1982. A large fraction of the hull was recovered and is currently in the process of conservation prior to exhibition to the public in 2013 in a purpose-built museum. The ship and the 20,000 artefacts represent a unique insight into Tudor life and are a national treasure. The conservators at the Mary Rose Trust were faced with a wide range of problems and in collaboration with scientists at the University of Kent have been studying the sulphur problem. This is the generation of sulphuric acid in the normal atmosphere from reduced sulphur compounds in the timbers and is common in waterlogged wooden objects. The work has used a wide range of techniques with synchrotron experiments playing a major role. A possible solution to the sulphur problem is the treatment of the timbers with alkaline nanoparticles to act as reservoirs that neutralise the acid. This talk will review the progress of this research and some of the general conservation problems with raised wrecks.

Canterbury Cafe Scientifique will be on Tuesday 14th May. The venue for the meeting will be the Espression Cafe at 29-30 Palace Street, Canterbury, CT1 2DZ. The cafe will be open from 6:45 and the talks start at 7pm. They are free to attend.

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