In the present study, the curing and the degradation of oil paints by irradiation with ultraviolet light was investigated by laser Raman spectroscopy. At present, the curing reaction of oil paints is interpreted by several reaction schemes, although none of them is considered to be based on definite experimental evidence. The most typical examples are as follows: one is the radical termination reaction of the crosslinking type; the other, the polymerization reaction of the Diels-Alder reaction (diene reaction) type. In the present investigation, oil paint film (ZnO White and TiO2 White) was ir- radiated with a Xe lamp, and the time dependence of the Raman spectra of the films was examined. It is shown that the curing reaction cannot be explained by either of the above-mentioned reaction schemes. A new reaction mechanism for the curing and the degradation of paint films is proposed. It is concluded that the microscopic approach to the elucidation of the degradation mechanism of oil paint films based on Raman spectroscopy is very useful for the improvement of oil painting techniques.

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