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Patina is a film that forms on bronze or similar metals over a long period of time due to an oxidation reaction. If cuprous chloride in copper alloys are present, it reacts with water to create hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid in the presence of metals will cause corrosions of the bronze and over time it will completely eat away at the metal. This reaction, known as Bronze Disease, is different than patina. Patina can act as a coat and preserver for metals. The University of Northern Iowa’s Museum is experiencing Bronze Disease on artifacts in the WWII collection. The Bronze Disease is destroying the artifacts and causing them to fall apart. If these artifacts go untreated the Bronze Disease will cause complete destruction to the artifacts until they are unrecognizable.
Joshua A. Sebree
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Reutzel, Andrea M., "Raman Spectroscopy of Bronze Disease on WWII Artifacts" (2019). Fall 2018 - Chemical Analysis Class Projects. 8.