3 years ago

A step forward in disclosing the secret of stradivari's varnish by NMR spectroscopy

A step forward in disclosing the secret of stradivari's varnish by NMR spectroscopy
Maduka L. Weththimuni, Eugenio Caponetti, Alberto Spinella, Marco Malagodi, Maurizio Licchelli, Maria Luisa Saladino
It is commonly thought that the varnishes used by the great violin-maker Antonio Stradivari may have a role in determining not only the esthetical features but also the acoustic properties of his instruments, and the idea of a “lost secret” is still widespread among musicians and violin-makers. Previous scientific researches on varnish samples of Stradivari's instruments revealed that they were generally made by a mix of linseed oil with and colophony or metal rosinates in different ratios ranging between 75/25 (oil/resin) and 60/40 (oil/rosinate). However, it is still not clear whether the mixture composition can be related to any structural and/or functional feature of the resulting varnish. To investigate this aspect, we prepared varnishes with different linseed oil/colophony (w/w) ratios and applied NMR techniques to achieve information about their chemical–physical characteristics. Here, we show that the two components strongly interact in the solid state and that only the varnish prepared from 75/25 (w/w) linseed oil/colophony mixture displays unique properties in terms of dynamic homogeneity unlike coatings with other compositions. Our results suggest that the so-called “secret” of Stradivari's finish could not be related to unknown ingredient(s) but to a specific oil/resin composition that provides the best performance. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2017, 55, 3949–3954 In this work, a set of varnishes prepared by varying the linseed oil/colophony ratio—following an ancient recipe used by the great violin maker Antonio Stradivari—is characterized with both liquid and solid state NMR. The two components strongly interact in the solid state. Only the varnish prepared from the 75/25 (w/w) linseed oil/colophony mixture (the one used by Stradivari) behaves as a fully homogeneous polymeric blend, unlike coatings with other compositions.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/pola.28782

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