On October 8th, I gave a lecture at the Koninklijke Maatschappij voor Natuurkunde o.d.z. Diligentia (Royal Society for Natural Science) in The Hague. Having attended many Diligentia science lectures as a high school student, I felt honoured to be invited to bring my own research on stage eleven years after graduation. It was a privilege to share some of the progress we have made in the study of oil paint chemistry with such an enthusiastic audience.
We recently published a paper in Macromolecules that discusses methods to quantify the swelling and diffusion processes that occur when oil paint films are exposed to solvents. Using time-dependent ATR-FTIR spectroscopic data, we developed a mathematical model that describes the spread of solvent through a paint film. While it proved difficult to predict diffusion rates based on solvent properties, strong swelling and fast diffusion seem to go hand in hand.
In July 2018, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research awarded a Veni grant for my research proposal A fundamental molecular understanding of oil paint degradation. With this grant, I will be able to carry out 3 years of post-doctoral research at the University of Amsterdam, studying the influence of water on ageing processes in oil paint with advanced (IR) spectroscopic techniques.