Video: The weird chemistry threatening masterpiece paintings

April 20, 2017, American Chemical Society
Credit: The American Chemical Society

A good art dealer can really clean up in today's market, but not when some weird chemistry wreaks havoc on masterpieces.

Art conservators started to notice microscopic pockmarks forming on the surfaces of treasured oil paintings that cause the images to look hazy.

It turns out the marks are eruptions of paint caused, weirdly, by soap that forms via . Since you have no time to watch paint dry, we explain how paintings from Rembrandts to O'Keefes are threatened by their own compositions—and we don't mean the imagery.

Watch the latest Speaking of Chemistry video here:

Explore further: Video: Watch the chemistry of a burning match in ultra-slow motion

Related Stories

Video: What's the best way to cook pasta?

March 21, 2017

Pasta noodles contain only three ingredients: eggs, water and flour. But how can you achieve a tasty result every time? Cooking pasta chemically changes how the proteins and starches interact, making the noodles sticky and ...

Video: The chemistry of redheads

March 14, 2017

St. Patrick's Day evokes thoughts of all things often associated with the Irish—including red hair. Chemically speaking, what sets redheads apart from the crowd is pigmentation—specifically melanins.

Recommended for you

The changing shape of DNA

May 24, 2018

The shape of DNA can be changed with a range of triggers including copper and oxygen—according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

Universal pH regulated assembly of DNA nanostructures

May 23, 2018

DNA, the carrier of genetic information, has become established as a highly useful building material in nanotechnology. One requirement in many applications is the controlled, switchable assembly of nanostructures. In the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.