Light-induced cracking and abrasion of inkjet prints: Damage and mitigation

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Andrea Venosa; Daniel Burge; Eugene Salesin;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 61, Number sup1, p.94-100 (2016)


This study is part of a larger research project at the Image Permanence Institute dedicated to digital print preservation issues – the Digital Print Preservation Portal (DP3). Previous DP3 studies determined that certain digital print types are prone to cracking and/or abrasion, and that factors such as low relative humidity, pollutants, and light increase the brittleness of the ink-receiving layer of some inkjet papers. The purpose of this investigation was to explore if light also increases the propensity of inkjet prints to abrade, and to examine the potential of framing glazings to mitigate light-induced physical damage (cracking and abrasion) by attenuating some portion of the UV spectrum. Inkjet papers and prints were subjected to xenon lighting (to simulate daylight through window glass) without glazing, or in sealed framing packages with plain framing glass (soda-lime) or UV filtering glass. Before and after light exposure, brittleness, and abrasion resistance were evaluated independently using two tests: ISO 18907 (Imaging materials – Photographic films and papers – Wedge test for brittleness) and a rub test utilizing a Sutherland® Rub Tester. In this study, exposure to light increased the cracking and/or abrasion tendency of some specimens. The use of UV filtering glass reduced this light-induced propensity in all cases. Plain glass protected all samples from at least one of these two types of surface damage, but was less effective than UV glass. Light-induced brittleness and sensitivity to abrasion were mostly, though not exclusively, caused by UV radiation. It was also seen that some prints may become brittle and/or prone to abrasion in the absence of image fade. Budgeting the amount of light these objects can be exposed to, protecting them from UV radiation, and handling prints with caution especially after exhibition, is essential in order to limit physical damage.