A selection of letters The Strad receives each month from its readers around the world: December 2020 issue
A SLEDGEHAMMER TO CRACK A NUT?
I note in Ulrike Dederer’s article (‘Why varnish matters’, October) that the researchers used neutron analysis to monitor the uptake by wood of water from humid air. A typical neutron analysis would involve the spontaneous fission of Californium-252 as the neutron source, a temperature-controlled graphite moderator and a lithium fluoride scintillation screen to display the results.
A low-tech but very accurate method is to note the increase in weight as the samples absorb moisture. The equipment involved consists of a balance, a clock, and pencil and paper to write down the results. This was the method used in my article ‘Taking tone from the air’, published in the September 1996 issue of The Strad.
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