Lab Science News - Science, chemistry and environmental news from laboratory experts

Posts Tagged ‘SUMMA canisters’

Sampling and Analysis of the Atmosphere Surrounding an Egyptian Mummy

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004

The Department of Antiquities Conservation of the J. Paul Getty Museum recently requested assistance from CAS’ Simi Valley Air Quality Laboratory to sample and analyze the atmosphere surrounding a second century Egyptian mummy. About six years ago, the mummy was sealed in a case containing ambient air. The museum wished to determine the volatile and semivolatile organic compounds off-gassing from the mummy. One purpose of the study was to determine the impact of off-gassing on other artifacts that were to be displayed with it.

Compounds of interest included low molecular weight organic acids, volatile organic chemicals, and the semivolatile compound, guaiacol. Guaiacol is a component of cedar oil and one of the embalming fluids used by the Egyptians.The other chemicals were associated with previous restoration activities with the mummy.

In order to collect the samples, two holes were drilled in the case housing the mummy. Sampling ports consisting of Teflon tubing (1/4” OD) and a ferrule and female Swagelok fitting were installed in the holes. The ports were sealed off at the time of installation and only opened during sampling periods.

(more…)