Molecular Traps

Many artists have called us in reference to the usefulness of molecular sieve-type technologies in air purification systems.  While these show some promising results in terms of dealing with nuisance materials, it is important to remember that these systems are not as effective as local exhaust ventilation which removes the contaminants. Molecular traps can be used for archival situations is discussed in Vol. 18 (no. 1) of the WAAC Newsletter.

Molecular trap is a general descriptive term for specific chemical commonly zeolites or activated carbon.  Both of these have been used to provide functions based on filtration, refining, and/or separation of chemical mixtures.  Zeolite molecular traps can selectively trap materials based on their size and polar properties, and act as adsorbents for molecules small enough to pass into their internal cavities.  Particularly relevant to conservators is the acid resistance of zeolite. 

Tests showed that molecular traps can increase the preservation profile of the collections. 

The Bainbridge Artcare products are available from local suppliers, or contact Nielsen & Bainbridge at: 40 Eisenhower Dr., Paramus, N.J., 07652, (800) 927-8227, or, Conservation Resources International (who makes MicroChamber Products), at: 5532 Port Royal Road, Springfield, Virginia, 22151, tel: (800) 634-6932.

Art Hazard News, Volume 19, No. 3, 1996

This article was originally printed for Art Hazard News, © copyright Center for Safety in the Arts 1996. It appears on nontoxicprint courtesy of the Health in the Arts Program, University of Illinois at Chicago, who have curated a collection of these articles from their archive which are still relevant to artists today.