Corrosion

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Corrosion, wear and corrosive wear; the story of lubrication systems in large technology object storage and use
David Hallam, David Thurrowgood and Col Ogilvie
National Museum of Australia

My name is David Hallam; I’m currently Senior Conservator Research and Technology at the National Museum. That means that I’m in charge of our research programs and I’m also in charge of our technological conservation program. Before that I was Head of Conservation at Queensland Museum, and before that I spent 20 odd years at the Australian War Memorial and I love functional objects. I also like Volvos. Now, recently, believe it or not, I bought an early Volvo. It was a 1974 Volvo, had very little mileage on it. It had only done 180,000 kilometers since 1974. It had been well maintained. It lived at Grafton. Now for those of you who are not from Australia, Grafton’s a nice humid place. It sat for long periods between short journeys. The owner would take it out, take it for a short drive and park it in the garage again. It was always garaged and when I went to buy it I thought “Ripper - really original car!”. And then I started reading through the documentation that came with it and I went “Oooo - this is going to be interesting”. I got it ready for registration, put it through registration and started using it as my everyday car. Surprise. It failed. All of the oil seals blew. Now, many conservators will tell you that this is an example of how use is damaging. Oh, but it were so simple. I have an even older Volvo. A 36-year-old Volvo. A very, very rare Volvo that has done 288,000 miles (that’s 450,000 kilometers). It’s been used regularly. It was owned by a pushbike-riding fanatic who only used this car when he was going to go on a long trip. So it wasn’t used and then he took it on a long trip. Then he parked it back in the garage again. How many years would it take to do 450,000 kilometers in a museum maintenance program? 7800 years. Now, we’re kidding ourselves if we

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