Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Method to clean corroded organ pipes

The European heritage of the organ is preserved in numerous historical instruments. One major threat to this heritage is the indoor atmospheric corrosion of lead and lead-tin alloys of organ pipes. In order to save the corroded pipes, cleaning the corroded pipe metal surface is a part of the conservation procedure. Cleaning the corroded pipe is done primarily to decrease the rate of corrosion by removing corrosion compounds (salts) from the surface. The insoluble corrosion products (e.g. lead white) are not to be removed. Cleaning should not affect the metal itself.

Water leaching of corroded pipes (foot area) is a method to remove corrosive compounds. Ultrasonic agitation may be used and decreases the leaching time somewhat. The leaching time depends on the extension of the corrosion attack and shape of the pipe foot. However, it is not advisable to clean the corroded pipes with water if the environment is still corrosive.

The method is intended to be used by organ restorers as a part of the conservation process of corroded organ pipes.

The dissemination is performed by seminars and workshops.

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Reported by

Department of Environmental Inorganic Chemistry
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