Creator: V. Argyropoulos & G. Batis
Introduction: In October 2006, the famous 1868 steam engine shipwreck “Patris” was visited off the coast of the Greek island Kea, and one of its two iron paddle wheels was removed and taken for exhibition outdoors at the Ermoupolis Industrial Museum in Syros. The paddle wheel removed weighs around 8 tons with an outer wheel diameter of 6.8 m, and a paddle iron shaft measuring 5 m in length. The planned conservation for the wheel after its removal from the sea did not take place due to the looming economic crisis in Greece, and it remained on the port of Syros until 2008 when a sponsor was found to help fund this salvage conservation project.However, many conservation professionals did not wish to undertake the project due to the difficulties and cost involved in stabilizing the marine iron using traditional conservation methods.The TEI of Athens in collaboration with the NTUA applied a novel and cost-effective method to dechlorinate the wheel using impressed current in-situ. The method of the applying impressed current is commonly applied by industry to remove chlorides from reinforced concrete with steel bars. However, to our knowledge it has never been applied to conserve large cultural heritage metal objects.
The paper describes the difficult operation of moving the wheel for outdoor exhibition to the museum from the port, its process of dechlorination, and the cleaning and protection carried out and completed by March 2013. The diagnosis of condition of the wheel is also discussed, such as, in-situ X-Ray Radiography, which was applied to decide if the wheel could be moved without causing collapse of the structure. Our research into this method of applying impressed current to stabilize the iron found that it is possible to remove the majority of chlorides without causing hydrogen embrittlement of the remaining metal. The method of dechlorination of the wheel are given along with the details of the conservation work of this large marine object with limited funds. As well, our current research will attempt to apply this method to dechlorinatethe metal part of marine composite artifacts without complete immersion of such objects in an electrolytic solution.
Reference: V. Argyropoulos & G. Batis, ‘Saving a Marine Iron Paddle Wheel Removed from the 1868 Steam Engine Shipwreck ‘Patris’ during an Economic Crisis in Greece’, Big Stuff 2013
|Argyropoulos, V, & Batis, G. (2013). Saving a Marine Iron Paddle Wheel Removed from the 1868 Steam Engine Shipwreck ‘Patris’ during an Economic Crisis in Greece. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4086785|