PUR Facts. Conservation of Polyurethane Foam in Art and Design

Art works executed in soft polyurethane foam (PUR) tend to be short-lived. This publication contributes to the preservation of PUR art for the future.

This publication can be ordered from the publisher.

Protective coating for PUR works of art

Matrasses, design chairs and works of art all have one thing in common: PUR. Manufacturers and artists have been using this disposable material since the 1950s. This publication explains the analysis of polyurethane works of art and the identification of conservation issues by scientists in collaboration with conservators and curators. The main factors responsible for damage to polyurethane objects are light, oxygen and heat. In PUR, these may cause yellowing, discolouration, loss of strength and flexibility, and crumbling. This publication investigates whether a protective coating can offer a solution. As it turns out, application of a thin protective layer of a stabilizing substance can indeed extend the life of the object. The publication also demonstrates how this ‘sunblock’ should be applied to the material.


Author: Thea van Oosten
ISBN: 9789-089-64-210-3
Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, 2011