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Wednesday, 18 September 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Technologies

Restoring the golden mask of pharaoh Tut Ankh Amun

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

This news went around the world: The beard of the world-famous, more than 3,000-year-old golden mask of Tut Ankh Amun fell off during a cleaning procedure and was hastily glued back on improperly.

The restored golden mask of Tut Ankh Amun. Source: Henkel

The restored golden mask of Tut Ankh Amun. Source: Henkel

The restored golden mask of the young pharaoh was recently presented to the world public during a ceremony at the Egyptian museum in Cairo. To make sure that the beard now sticks to the mask a customised adhesives solution from Henkel is used.

Incorrectly glued using epoxy

The story began when Dr. Dirk Kasper, a specialist in hotmelt adhesives, read a newspaper article about how the incorrect use of adhesives had damaged the more than 3,000-year-old mask of Tut Ankh Amun. He called the restoration team straight away to offer support. His colleague Dr. Rainer Schönfeld was then invited to examine the mask with his team: "The beard had been incorrectly glued to the mask using an epoxy.”

Withstanding high temperatures in Egypt

His team conducted detailed analysis and developed a method to remove the epoxy glue from the mask without leaving any residue. "At the same time, we checked our technology portfolio to see what kind of glue would be best suited for the restoration,” explained Dirk Kasper. The requirements were high: The adhesive has to be removable without leaving any residue, and had to be able to withstand the high temperatures in Egypt as well as vibration during the transport. In numerous physical measures, 3D-models and application tests the experts were able to develop the suitable adhesive.

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