Light damage to selected organic materials in display cases: A study of different light sources

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Matthias Farke; Marcello Binetti; Oliver Hahn;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 61, Number sup1, p.83-93 (2016)


The protection of works of art and cultural assets against light-induced aging is vital when planning exhibitions. Newly developed lighting systems render the selection of suitable light sources more difficult, not least in the context of energy–economical systems. This study accordingly examines different lighting systems (fluorescent tubes, halogen lamps, low-voltage metal halide lamps, and LED lamps) in terms of the damage potential they hold for the materials concerned. The changes in color were evaluated using the CIEDE2000 color-difference formula. This study focuses on selected organic materials and shows that changes in color already occur after only a brief exposure time. The color changes induced by the fluorescent tubes were consistently more intense than those induced by the other light sources. The results obtained with the remaining lamps show that the color changes depend more on the material under investigation than on the source used. The changes determined after a relatively short exposure period (five months) vividly demonstrate that exposing sensitive materials to light for longer terms (as is the case during a permanent exhibition) is most definitely a non-viable option.