The weakened microstructure of archaeological wood (AW) objects from waterlogged environments necessitates consolidation to avoid anisotropic shrinkage upon drying. Polymer impregnation through submergence or spraying treatments is commonly applied, and for larger and thicker objects, the impregnation period can stretch over decades. Thus, for efficient treatment, continuous monitoring of the impregnation status is required. Today, such monitoring is often destructive and expensive, requiring segments for extraction and chromatographic quantification. This study proposes an in situ Raman spectroscopic method for quantification of polyethylene glycol (PEG) in waterlogged AW. A calibration model was built on standards of PEG, cellulose powder, and milled wood lignin using orthogonal partial least squares (OPLS). The OPLS model had a strong linear relationship, and the PEG content in wood of varying degrees of degradation could be determined. However, the accuracy of the model was low with a root mean square error of prediction of 11 wt%. The low accuracy was traced to the heterogeneity in the calibration and validation set samples with regard to the small probing volume of the confocal instrumental setup.
Exfoliated organo-montmorillonite (O-Mt) layers were successfully encapsulated in a terpolymer microsphere (PAAA) of acrylamide (AM)/acrylic acid (AA)/2-acrylamido-2-methylpropanesulfonic acid (AMPS) via in situ inverse suspension polymerization, with the aid of the organic modification by cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) and sodium lauryl sulfonate (SLS). The chemical structure and properties of the Mt were characterized by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), which showed that SLS molecules successfully intercalated Mt interlayers and enhanced the thermostability of Mt. The microsphere morphologies of the polymer and its nanocomposites were detected by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results of X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) confirmed that the exfoliated O-Mt dispersed in the polymer matrix. The introduction of well-dispersed O-Mt layers significantly enhanced the comprehensive performance of these microspheres, including thermostability and plugging properties. The Tmax of PAAA/1.5 wt.% O-Mt nanocomposite is increased by 46°C compared to the pure terpolymer. The plugging rate of PAAA/2.0 wt.% O-Mt reached up to 85.8%. Therefore, these selected nanocomposite microspheres can provide an effective plugging in the high-permeability layers.