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Many museums face the challenge of protecting artifacts from deterioration. This process is often hampered by the history of the artifact, which can introduce factors that start or speed up the process of deterioration. An example of this is the method used during WW II to preserve leather. Mink oil or other fatty substances are used to help preserve and soften leather. A major component of mink oil is palmitic acid.
1 This fatty acid may have reacted with the brass in the same way that the oils from the hand react with coins to make that distinctive metallic smell, only in this case causing damage to the leather.
2 Since mink oil and other oils are commonly used to preserve leather, its components are expected to be found via GC/MS.
Joshua A. Sebree
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Houser, Brice, "The Characterization of Leather WWII Artifacts Using GC/MS and Raman Spectroscopy" (2019). Fall 2018 - Chemical Analysis Class Projects. 4.