February 7, 2013
Ancient Terracotta Chinese Warrior Relics Preserved With Air Curtain
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
New methods have been unveiled to help preserve ancient relics, such as China's world-renowned Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses.
These large, immovable historic relics displayed in China have faced many environmental factors, deteriorating many of the more than 1,500 relics. The museum was first opened in 1979, providing an exhibition of Qin Shinhuang's mausoleum. Qin Shinhuang was the first emperor in China's history, dating back to 259 - 210 B.C.
This museum covers 17,000 square yards, which is almost three football fields. Over 5 million people visit the museum each year to see the life-size Terracotta statues of both warriors and horses.
Many of the relics in the pits changed appearances when unearthed, and during exhibition, due to the environmental management approach being used by the museum.
In order to better preserve relics such as the Terracotta Warriors, researchers wrote about some methods that could be done in the American Chemical Society's journal Environmental Science & Technology.
The authors recommend new measures to help preserve these artifacts, such as using an "air curtain." With this method, an "air curtain" would blow across the space to separate the figurines in the Qin Museum from the outside environment.
The air curtain would help keep both pollutants and heat away from the inside of the pits, and a layer of cool air would be used in the bottom of the pits to help form a blanket of stagnant air around the relics for protection against the environment.
In a model showing off the air curtain, researchers show how the small space would be composed of an air filtering module and curtain system. The curtain is designed to provide the filtered air, which is conditioned with appropriate temperature and humidity, while the air curtain sheer is made to diverge the air pollutants and heat from penetrating the pits.
The authors said the introduction of the air-curtaining system would allow reintegration of the relics to their primitive environment. They did say that further understanding of the primitive environment of different underground soil and water content in the pits containing the relics is necessary for the preservation of the historical relics.
"In conclusion, archeology museums have the responsibility of preserving and exhibiting the cultural inheritance of our ancient civilization," the authors wrote in the journal. "The challenge for the archeology museums is to produce an appropriate environmental control to ensure long-term preservation of relics within the premise that could also maintain the panorama view of the excavation sites."
Researchers studied the specific environmental quality specifications to determine what temperature, humidity and air qualities need to be achieved for the relics, to provide a habitat similar to what they had before being unearthed.