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Museum Invests in Digital Imaging X-ray Technology from DÜRR NDT
As part of their meticulous investigation into the history and construction of these objects, as well as repairs and changes that may have been performed in the past, CWF recently added DÜRR NDT Computed Radiography (CR) and Direct Radiography (DR) capability to their X-ray lab, replacing their outdated film radiography process. The HD-CR 35 scanner and DRC 2430 digital detector array (DDA) eliminate the need for manual film developing and chemistry management, and no longer needing a darkroom liberates valuable space.
The flexibility of the new equipment, along with the ease-of-use of DÜRR's D-Tect X software, means that the large group of conservators can more efficiently and quickly perform their investigative tasks and share the resulting images with their peers.
As an example, the CR image of a painting of Susanna Cardwell McCausland (attributed to Joshua Johnson and dated ca. 1805) clearly shows canvas repair as well as underlying paint lines which provide evidence that the artist has changed his original composition during creation. Because CR uses thin flexible imaging plates (IPs), it was possible to safely insert the IP between the canvas and the wooden stretcher to eliminate interference from the frame structure while capturing this image.
DR, on the other hand, uses a thicker imaging device which is not appropriate for this application, but gives almost instant images so that suitable artifacts can be quickly and easily imaged. In fact, because DR provides real-time imaging capability, it is simple to adjust X-ray parameters on-the-fly to achieve the best possible image before capturing the final version to the software. This is a great advantage in an environment where objects made from very diverse materials are imaged, as the density and thus the required X-ray settings can change radically from one application to the next.
The Colonial WIllliamsburg Foundation now has the tools to quickly and easily advance their investigations, and since the conservators have been trained to use the equipment, each lab has the ability to study their own specialist material. Patricia Silence, Director of Conservation Operations commented: "Our curators, archaeologists, and other experts who rely on the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's conservators for expert analysis are really excited to have this technology available. We'll learn much more about our collection now that X-ray imaging is fairly quick, with no mess or use of expensive supplies."
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