In order to provide a realistic assessment of the risks created by airborne pollutants on objects of cultural heritage, the BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing in Berlin has developed new methods for analysis and optimised them.
Preliminary tests of all relevant materials used in display case construction served as a basis for the classification of materials and their potential emission loads. The newly defined requirements on construction materials are based on this data.
Consequently, the new assessment scheme for museum case construction materials comprises various methods of analysis and has been scientifically published as the BEMMA* assessment scheme (assessment of emissions from materials for museum equipment). Based on the unique situation of pollutants in environments with low air exchange rates, new approaches for analysis were needed. Low limits of detection are required for the proper evaluation of the damage potential of specific emitting substances.
For the first time, it will be possible to perform a problem oriented assessment yielding significant and reproducible analytical results in a fast and efficient way, within only five to six days.
Summarised in a uniform assessment scheme the comparison of display case construction materials is possible today with regard to semi-, volatile, and very volatile substances (SVOCs, VOCs and VVOCs ) with significantly lower limits of detection (e.g. for acetic acid 50 μg/m³ and for formic acid 25 μg/m³ ).
The environmentally conscious user (curator, conservator or planning expert) can now rely on the BEMMA* scheme during the planning stage for display cases, storage cabinets and presentation aids. This also applies to the fabrication of transportation packing for art and cultural goods.
Accredited assessment institutes following this assessment scheme are now able to apply qualified material measures for museum cases and equipment and to interpret the results. These results should be used in tender procedures and specifications to offer all parties safety in the planning and decision making process. Safety you can rely on.