In an attempt to make perfect museum replicas, Princeton Partners International are seemingly working on a new document ageing procedure that attempts to fool Carbon -14 dating to the extent that , according to sources, the only way to discern the original from the replica is by comparing a known original master with a known replica and using and Electron Microscope and/or a Mass Spectrometer.
Much of this measuring is destructive, so it can only be done on a small sample on the original where some of damage has already occurred so further damage is of little consequence .
Let us first look at the Science behind the procedure to help us understand how Carbon -14 dating works.
As some of you may know, Carbon dating uses as a time base the known half life of a particular isotope which is constant, and which is applied to matter that was once living (and absorbing Carbon in some form) and presumed to be in equilibrium with the surrounding atmosphere, taking in Carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air through photosynthesis either as a plant in the case of vegetable fiber or through plant consumption in the case of animal life . This applies to all carbon- based life forms.
Gamma ray s (also know as Cosmic rays) are fast moving protons and, when they reach Earth, they bombard atomic nuclei apart in the upper atmosphere, producing free moving neutrons, which in turn bombard Oxygen, Nitrogen, and other atoms , as well as CO2 molecules (Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas) on their journey to the surface.
This Neutron bombardment of nuclei brings about many changes in the matter they collide with at the atomic level. One of the changes is the transformation of regular Carbon atoms into the radioactive isotope Carbon-14 in the CO2 (or the Carbon particles present in smoke, which then combines with Oxygen to form Carbon dioxide), which is readily absorbed by plant life during Photosynthesis. This is how Carbon-14 is integrated into the fabric of life.
The rate at which C arbon-14 forms is more or less constant, and its rate of decay is also constant. Therefore by measuring the radioactive particle emissions from Carbon-based matter that was living tissue and evaluating it with the activity found in tissue that is alive today, we can establish with a great deal of certainty the time that has passed since the substance that we are trying to date was created, thus giving us a clue as to it s age.
Engineers at Princeton Partners International (princetonparters.co.uk ), are looking at Carbon-14 dating as a way to improve their product, in an attempt to achieve better accuracy in their museum replicas, restoration of damaged or missing pages, etc.
Princeton Partners International reportedly obtain old paper stock for specific projects (in many cases supplied by the museums themselves) and in the case of replicas going back more than 100 years where Carbon-14 dating may be an issue , Princeton Partners International purportedly use vegetable fibres from the correct time period to make pulp from, then create paper stock using just the right amount of Carbon-14 isotope for a particular period in history.
According to sources, Princeton Partners International sometimes only coat the surface of the parchment by introducing Carbon-14 particles from the correct time period (a method known as “seeding”) so in some cases, the apparent age of the replica will be the one desired and only destructive testing will reveal the real date of the replica.
This system can be used in cases where it is known that only the surface of a parchment is analyzed by means of lightly scraping the surface.
This “seeding” procedure has to be employed on any goatskin parchment material , since it is not possible at this time to reconstruct goatskin from pulp.
Another method Princeton Partners International is experimenting with in order to fool Carbon-14 dating is to modify the surrounding atmosphere in a chamber and bombard the replica with fast moving particles to change the material and produce Carbon-14 in varying amounts to simulate the signature of a piece dating back to a given period in time . This is very much in the prototype stages and we have no further data at this time regarding the progress of the process.
Much of the details are experimental proprietary processes, and therefore guarded company techniques so they may not be able to comment but if you have any questions regarding and enquiry you may contact Princeton Partners directly by visiting their websites : Princeton-Partners.co.uk, Pr incetonPartners.co.uk, Princeton-Partners.com)
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This article has been produced by The Studio Networks Pty on behalf of Princeton Partners International (princetonpartners.co.uk)
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