Conservación de Sustratos Celulósicos S.L., is a company dedicated to the application of advanced technologies for the conservation of written patrimony, particularly for the de-acidification and disinfection en masse of books, documents and generally of any cellulose support affected by problems of acidity or infections caused by fungi or bacteria.
Created in the beginning of 2000 by the initiative of one of the Innovation programmes of the Solvay Group, the company was founded on several studies made by Professor Dr. Rogelio Areal in the Politechnical University of Catalunya, whose research projects lead to several patents, the exclusive worldwide rights of which have been transferred to CSC.
Starting from the results of these studies and after several years of investigations, CSC has set up the technology of de-acidification following the CSC Booksaver® process which, nowadays, is among the most efficient worldwide processes for the preservation of the books and documents.
Since the very beginning, CSC has worked in collaboration with preservation experts at libraries and archives in Spain, Germany, Italy and Belgium who have helped perfect the de-acidification process by evaluating and testing the products and services under development. The result is an efficient, flexible process that has quickly earned the trust of prestigious historical and cultural institutions.
The majority shareholder of CSC is the Solvay Chemical and Pharmaceutical Group. The company has its installations in Terrassa (Barcelona) and offers specific treatment services to its clients and the companies it collaborates with.
The good results obtained in mass treatments have made it possible to develop and patent a new line of CSC Book Saver® aerosol sprays for the preservation of books, documents, periodicals, maps and cellulose material in general: the de-acidifying spray and biocide spray.
The same neutralizing agent used to de-acidify large collections is now available in a small format with the aim of facilitating the de-acidification of individual objects: books, letters, maps, drawings, newspaper clippings, etc. The new spray makes for a simple de-acidification process, regardless of whether it is done for prevention or as part of an overall restoration process of a specific document.
This product range is used by restoration companies and many museums, archives and libraries to preserve a wide range of cultural objects on cellulose media.
Preventing the deterioration of a letter or a map can be done in a matter of minutes. It is not necessary to remove the binding of books to treat them.The CSC Book Saver® biocide has been shown to work against a broad spectrum of microbes, including the bacteria and fungi that destroy paper. The product only contains ingredients of proven efficacy that are used in pharmaceutics and cosmetics due to their lack of toxicity.
C/ Colom 453, nave 50
08223 Terrassa (Barcelona)
Tel +34 93 786 09 00
Fax +34 93 731 94 09
If you’d like to contact us or find out more about CSC Book Saver®, send us an e-mail with your name, company, department, telephone number and fax number to the following address:
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CSC believes that in-depth, stable collaboration with the people responsible for libraries, archives, R&D laboratories and heritage-preservation institutes is essential to continue offering state-of-the-art solutions for heritage preservation.
CSC has signed a framework agreement with the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya to continue applying new scientific and technical advances to the preservation of historical heritage in paper form. Moreover, the central laboratories and intellectual-property departments of the Solvay Chemical and Pharmaceutical Group in Brussels collaborate on the latest technological developments patented by CSC.
With the aim of guaranteeing increased efficiency and satisfaction with the services it offers, CSC makes the CSC Book Saver® process available to archives and libraries through our collaborator companies, which are rigorously selected based on their proven track records in the preservation of heritage in print.
The de-acidification of individual sheets of paper using an alkaline bath is a method that provides excellent results but is obviously impracticable as a method for collections of thousands of books and documents because of its cost and the time it would take. The alkaline-bath method can only be used on individual works of great value. The solution for archives and libraries involves a technology that makes it possible to quickly mass treat collections without having to remove the binding.
The CSC Book Saver® technology is the solution to this major challenge because it provides for the simultaneous de-acidification and disinfection of more than 250,000 kg of books and documents a year without having to remove the binding by means of a fast, effective, low-cost method that can be used by any archive or library.The Book Saver® process involves the use of a unit, where books and documents are placed without removing the binding, as well as a reagent that neutralizes the acidity without attacking the dyes. The simplification and automation of the project results in a drastic reduction in costs.
- The operation merely involves pre-selecting the material to be treated, loading it into and unloading it from the unit, the treatment itself, and airing the treated documents. During the pre-selection process, books that are highly deteriorated, have holes from insects and larvae, or are in an advanced state of degradation (pH below 3.5) are separated for manual restoration, if possible. The books and documents to be treated are placed on a tray in the unit without removing the binding. The most suitable programme is selected for the kind of paper and the automatic cycle is turned on.
- Once the cycle is completed, the operator takes the books out of the unit and allows them to air dry.
In just a few years, a complete archive can be saved at a cost that is 50 to 60 times lower than using traditional methods.
The Book Saver® reagent is made up of a magnesium-based neutralizing agent and a carrier that dissolves the neutralizing agent and diffuses right through the paper for maximum penetration. The result is:
- Homogeneous neutralization of the paper’s acidity.
- A uniform reduction of the alkaline reserve to prevent future acidification.
The amount of reagent to be used and the contact time between the material and reagent will depend on the condition of the material to be treated. The unit has pre-programmed cycles for treating different kinds of documents. Once the material is selected, the paper is dried to achieve a humidity percentage that optimizes the behaviour of the neutralizing agent. The books are then placed in the treatment chamber, which is closed so all the air can be extracted. The Book Saver® reagent is then released inside the chamber to impregnate the material.
After impregnation, the neutralizing agent is deposited on the cellulose fibres and the carrier is recovered. The books are then removed from the chamber and air dried, which is when the organic magnesium deposited on the fibres is transformed into carbonated magnesium. The cycle can take between four and six hours, depending on the material being treated.
A scanning electron microscope (SEM) was used to examine the cross-sectional cuttings of the sheets and show that the neutralizing agent uniformly penetrated into the interior and exterior pages. The tensile strength compared to untreated paper increased 50% on average. The fatigue strength (double fold) increased by 150% to 180%.
To find out more about the process, consult the Banik Study
Regardless of whether the treatment is applied on site or at the facilities of CSC or one of the companies we collaborate with, the objects are identified and registered individually by book or file to ensure traceability during the entire preservation process.
The first step in mass treatment is the essential process of evaluating the material to be treated and selecting the most suitable treatment. If the object to be preserved is in a very bad state of deterioration and the essential intrinsic properties of the paper have been lost, additional stabilization processes must be applied, involving considerable additional cost. It is therefore recommended to apply a preventive preservation policy and to de-acidify collections that have not suffered major damage as a way of avoiding the need for urgent treatments in the future at a much higher cost. Unlike other treatments, when the CSC Book Saver® process is applied, deterioration is rarely observed in dyes, stamps, etc., which greatly facilitates the initial evaluation process.
CSC carries out continuous monitoring of treatment quality by means of the systematic analysis of samples at its own laboratories and at independent research institutes and control laboratories.
The biological agents that can damage paper are essentially rodents, insects and microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria, which are able to live off the nutrients in the substances that make the cellulose materials.
The CSC Book Saver® mass de-acidification process also disinfects books, given that it involves creating a vacuum in the chamber where the books are treated so the HFC 227 carrier can be introduced. This agent itself also acts as a disinfectant because it takes action by eliminating the insects and larvae due to the lack of oxygen.
This disinfecting treatment can be further enhanced with the CSC Book Saver® biocide treatment. The CSC Book Saver® de-acidification technology allows for the application of a set of products that inhibit microbiological growth because of the compatibility between the biocide agent and the neutralizing agent.There are three main reasons why microorganisms thrive on cellulose material.
- The accumulation of dust due to poor ventilation is also harmful, given that dust contains a great many aerobic bacteria, as well as a multitude of fungal spores.
- Besides these environmental factors, another factor strongly favours the development of fungi: the acidity of paper.
To prevent infection from fungi and bacteria, suitable preventive measures must be taken:
- The ambient humidity (relative humidity less than or equal to 50%) and storage temperature should be controlled (below 18ºC).
- Storage areas should be disinfected because, otherwise, re-infection can occur even if contaminating microorganisms are eliminated from books and documents. All new documents to be added to the collection should be checked and disinfected before storage if necessary.
- The optimum pH for the growth of cellulose-decomposing fungi is usually between 4.5 and 6, whereas the optimum pH of cellulose enzymes is usually below 6. For this reason, de-acidification of paper is essential to prevent the development of fungus and bacteria.
The determining criteria for choosing a method to eliminate fungi and bacteria are as follows:
- The efficacy of the biocide against the biological species to be eliminated.
- Possible alterations caused by the chemical products and/or the physical processes (radiation, etc.) used in the disinfection of the substrates and dyes of books and documents.
- The possible toxicity for humans and the environment of the chemical products used and the way to prevent such toxicity so these products can be applied with sufficient guarantees of safety.
Los papeles de la célebre Lista de Schindler sobrevivirán al tiempo. Por lo menos, un siglo más. Cuatro millones de documentos de la II Guerra Mundial y de la Alemania nazi, entre ellos el archivo del industrial Oskar Schindler, están siendo restaurados en Alemania con una tecnología desarrollada por la Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña.
Más de cuatro millones de documentos de prisioneros de la II Guerra Mundial y del régimen de la Alemania nazi, entre ellos el archivo del industrial Oskar Schindler.
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