Scientists work to slow corrosion of ancient warship’s ram

Published on June 15th, 2012 | by Admin

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Researchers are in a hurry to stop a buildup of sulphuric acid from eating away at an ancient warship’s ram that was recovered from the floor of the Mediterranean Sea.

Researchers are racing to find a way to slow the disintegration and perhaps, in the process, learn how to preserve other ancient wood structures after they’ve been plucked from the ocean and exposed to the air.

Currently the ram — known as a rostrum, a beak-like part of the prow that ancient warships used to ram holes into enemy ships — is being stored underwater, and some of the acidity from its exposure to air (when it was brought to the surface initially) has washed away. But if it were ever to be displayed out in the air, the sulfuric acid production could turn out to be a real problem, study researcher Patrick Frank of Stanford University told LiveScience.

[Full story]

Story: Jennifer Welsh, LiveScience | Photo: Patrick Frank

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