Saturated solution evaporating process potential damage to drying artefacts

Shipwrecks and Salvage‎ > ‎7. Conservation‎ > ‎

Describe the processes that occur when a saturated solution evaporates and relate this to the potential damage to drying artefacts

  • When a solution of a solid is evaporated, the solution becomes more concentrated until it reaches saturation.
  • Saturated Solution: A solution of a substance in which no more of that particular substance can dissolve.
  • When a saturated solution is evaporated, the dissolved solid begins to crystallise until only the solid remains.
  • When an artefact from a long-submerged wreck is dried, this crystallisation process occurs.
  • The formation of salt crystals throughout porous artefacts can cause considerable damage in two main ways:
    • Distorting and cracking artefacts.
    • Reacting chemically with artefacts.
  • Impregnated salts need to be removed from artefacts before they are dried in order to prevent damage.