Abstract

The most critical steps during the conservation-restoration treatment applied in Moroccan libraries are the deacidification using immersion in a saturated aqueous calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2) solution and the consolidation of degraded manuscripts using Japanese paper. The present study aims to assess the efficiency of this restoration method using a multi-analytical approach. For this purpose, three ancient Arabic Moroccan manuscript papers dating back to the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries were investigated to characterize the paper support and make a comparative study between pre-restoration and post-restoration states. Three structural and molecular characterization techniques including solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy on 13C with cross-polarization and magic-angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance (13C CP-MAS NMR), attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR FT-IR), and X-ray diffraction (XRD) were used to elucidate the cellulose main features, to identify the inorganic composition of the papers, and to study the crystallinity of the samples. Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) allowed us to obtain a qualitative and quantitative characterization of the mineral fillers used in the manufacturing of the papers. Scanning electron microscopy coupled to energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM-EDS) ascertained the state of conservation of the different papers and helped us to study the elemental composition of the samples. After restoration, it was shown that the deacidification improved the stability of papers by providing an important alkaline buffer, as demonstrated using FT-IR and energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS) results. However, XRD and ICP-AES did not confirm the pertinence of the treatment for all samples because of the unequal distribution of Ca on the paper surface during the restoration. The consolidation process was studied using SEM analysis; its effectiveness in restoring torn areas was found to be significant.

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