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The focus shifts from chemistry to mechanics

21 October 2013

In the rainy summer of 2000 the Vasa Museum was full of soaking wet visitors. When the summer drew to a close the yellowish white salt deposits had formed large spots on the ship. The varying humidity had caused a transport of water-soluble chemicals in the timbers.

The deposits consisted of iron and sulphur-rich chemical compounds with an acidity that showed a hint of sulphuric acid, which in turn was assumed to degrade the timbers. A major chemistry study was then started in the research project ‘Preserve Vasa’.  This was followed by the project ‘A future for Vasa’.

As the investigations were in progress the researchers partially changed their opinion about the sulphur's importance in weakening the Vasa ship. Not only is it impossible to re-preserve the ship, but also the acid cannot be removed. Today, research on how the ship should be preserved focuses primarily on how a new support structure can be optimised.