Title

Music and materials: Art and science of organ pipe metal

Abstract

Historical pipe organs offer rich insights into the relationships between materials and music in the past, and they represent a laboratory for contemporary materials science. Recent cross-disciplinary research has explored problems of conservation and corrosion in old organ pipes. The ability of some notable European Baroque organs to produce sound is threatened by atmospheric corrosion of their lead-tin alloy pipes. Organic acids emitted from the wood of organ cases are corrosive agents for lead-rich pipes. Laboratory exposure experiments were used to study the roles of humidity and alloy composition in the susceptibility to organic acid attack. The rates of growth, as well as the compositions and morphologies of the corrosion products were studied using gravimetry, x-ray diffraction, and scanning electron microscopy of surfaces and cross sections. This interdisciplinary project provides one model for the interplay of scientific and humanities research in addressing materials problems in cultural heritage.

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Publication Date

1-1-2017

Publication Title

MRS Bulletin

Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1557/mrs.2016.294

Keywords

Acetic-acid vapor, Atmospheric corrosion, Lead, Environments, Tin

Language

English

Format

text

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