Date of Award


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Paper Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Molly Williams

Second Advisor

Dr. Raymond Janes


Libraries occasionally have water main breaks, fires and floods. These disasters cause considerable water damage to thousands of books. Books that are left wet on the shelves will grow mold. Books that are quickly frozen and eventually freeze-dried can be restored to the shelf in good condition. Several libraries have used freeze-drying for this purpose and have had great success.

Freeze-drying is a process used to remove frozen liquid from a substance. The moist material is frozen and put in a vacuum. A high vacuum with some heat introduced will cause the frozen liquid to sublime. A dry-porous structure is left behind.

There has been no test data found considering the effects of freeze-drying on the strength of papers. The purpose of this report is to examine this process.

Eleven books up to 173 years old were wetted and freeze-dried. Some cockling of papers were observed. Strength properties of fold, tensile and zero span tensile essentially remained unchanged. Freeze-drying, in respect to the relatively small number of samples tested, does not have any detrimental effect on the strength of paper. Freeze-drying is recommended for restoration of water damaged books.