Polyester Film – Definition, Examples, History & More – Art Conservation and Restoration Glossary

I. What is Polyester Film?

Polyester film, also known as PET film or Mylar, is a type of plastic film made from polyethylene terephthalate. It is a versatile material that is commonly used in various industries due to its unique properties.

Polyester film is known for its high tensile strength, chemical resistance, and dimensional stability. It is also transparent, flexible, and has excellent thermal properties, making it ideal for a wide range of applications.

II. Properties of Polyester Film

Polyester film has several key properties that make it a popular choice in art conservation and restoration. These properties include its high tensile strength, which allows it to withstand tension and pressure without tearing or breaking.

Additionally, polyester film is chemically inert, meaning it does not react with acids, bases, or solvents commonly used in conservation treatments. This makes it an ideal material for protecting delicate artworks from environmental pollutants and degradation.

Furthermore, polyester film is dimensionally stable, meaning it does not shrink or expand when exposed to changes in temperature or humidity. This stability ensures that artworks remain protected and secure when stored or displayed.

III. Uses of Polyester Film in Art Conservation and Restoration

Polyester film is commonly used in art conservation and restoration to protect and preserve delicate artworks. It is often used as a barrier layer between the artwork and external elements, such as dust, moisture, and pollutants.

Polyester film can also be used to encapsulate artworks, creating a sealed environment that prevents physical damage and deterioration. This encapsulation process helps to extend the lifespan of artworks and maintain their original appearance.

Additionally, polyester film is used in the repair and stabilization of artworks, providing support and reinforcement for fragile or damaged areas. It can be easily cut, shaped, and adhered to artworks without causing further harm.

IV. Advantages of Polyester Film in Art Conservation and Restoration

There are several advantages to using polyester film in art conservation and restoration. One of the main benefits is its transparency, which allows conservators to visually inspect artworks without removing the protective layer.

Polyester film is also lightweight and flexible, making it easy to handle and manipulate during conservation treatments. Its high tensile strength provides added support and protection for fragile artworks without adding bulk or weight.

Furthermore, polyester film is resistant to moisture, chemicals, and UV radiation, ensuring that artworks are safeguarded from environmental hazards. Its durability and longevity make it a cost-effective solution for long-term preservation.

V. Disadvantages of Polyester Film in Art Conservation and Restoration

Despite its many advantages, polyester film does have some disadvantages in art conservation and restoration. One of the main drawbacks is its susceptibility to scratching and abrasion, which can occur during handling or storage.

Additionally, polyester film can create a static charge that attracts dust and debris, leading to potential contamination of artworks. This static electricity can also cause the film to cling to surfaces, making it difficult to remove without causing damage.

Furthermore, polyester film is not biodegradable and can release harmful chemicals when exposed to high temperatures or UV radiation. This environmental impact should be considered when choosing materials for conservation treatments.

VI. Best Practices for Working with Polyester Film in Art Conservation and Restoration

When working with polyester film in art conservation and restoration, it is important to follow best practices to ensure the safety and preservation of artworks. Conservators should handle the film with clean, dry hands to prevent contamination.

It is recommended to store polyester film in a cool, dark, and dry environment to prevent degradation and discoloration. Avoid exposing the film to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, as this can weaken its protective properties.

When encapsulating artworks with polyester film, ensure that the edges are sealed securely to create a tight barrier. Use appropriate adhesives and tools to prevent air bubbles or wrinkles from forming, which can trap moisture and cause damage over time.

Overall, polyester film is a valuable material in art conservation and restoration, offering a combination of strength, flexibility, and protection. By understanding its properties, uses, advantages, and disadvantages, conservators can make informed decisions when incorporating polyester film into their preservation practices.