Eli5, if I left some valuable collectible, say, a car or a paining in am hermetically sealed room filled with pure argon and nothing else, and had it completely protected from UV radiation, would it ever decay or degrade?

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Eli5, if I left some valuable collectible, say, a car or a paining in am hermetically sealed room filled with pure argon and nothing else, and had it completely protected from UV radiation, would it ever decay or degrade?

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18 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

*an hermetically sealed room

Man this all is phrased wierdly too, I think I need some sleep tbh

Anonymous 0 Comments

*an hermetically sealed room

Man this all is phrased wierdly too, I think I need some sleep tbh

Anonymous 0 Comments

That would certainly help a lot, but theoretically there could be some chemical inside the object that might degrade even outside the presence of oxygen or light.

Most paper, for instance, is naturally acidic and will degrade over time even in the environment you describe. Modern archivists have access to “acid-free paper” which lasts much longer, but obviously that would not have been available for much older books.

Anonymous 0 Comments

That would certainly help a lot, but theoretically there could be some chemical inside the object that might degrade even outside the presence of oxygen or light.

Most paper, for instance, is naturally acidic and will degrade over time even in the environment you describe. Modern archivists have access to “acid-free paper” which lasts much longer, but obviously that would not have been available for much older books.

Anonymous 0 Comments

You’ll slow it down incredibly but entropy says everything is always moving towards a state of disorganization. You can’t stop the atoms from actually moving or the effects of even gravity. You may slow it down so it lasts thousands of years, but you can’t stop it

Anonymous 0 Comments

You’ll slow it down incredibly but entropy says everything is always moving towards a state of disorganization. You can’t stop the atoms from actually moving or the effects of even gravity. You may slow it down so it lasts thousands of years, but you can’t stop it

Anonymous 0 Comments

It would definitely degrade, and faster than you might hope. All of the plastics, rubbers, synthetic fibers, weather stripping and paint are going to keep breaking down regardless of the presence of oxygen and light. The process may be slowed in some cases, but museums are starting to confront this issue with their modern collections. I remember one article about a panicked curator wondering why a moonshot-era spacesuit was breaking down, even in an airtight case. They found that the rubber hoses and gaskets were breaking down and releasing acidic vapors which then attacked the cloth and metal.

A car has loads of solvents, petrochemicals and such in and on it, and they would all break down and release god-knows-what. Even if you constantly flushed the atmosphere with more argon you’d only slow the process, not stop it.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The decay would be -very- significantly slowed, but forever is a long time. Lots of stuff will still degrade slowly just because of temperature. Volatile components might off gas, various atoms and molecules will migrate around. Though you could also keep things cold as well to reduce that.

But even super cold, and well shielded over a very long time you still got cosmic rays that’ll degrade things. Bury it deep and you still get neutrinos to deal with. Though each additional layer of protection could potentially add orders of magnitude to how long the thing will last.

End result, yeah, everything degrades without upkeep. Maybe it will take millions of years if you specifically design something for extremely long life, but it will still happen.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The decay would be -very- significantly slowed, but forever is a long time. Lots of stuff will still degrade slowly just because of temperature. Volatile components might off gas, various atoms and molecules will migrate around. Though you could also keep things cold as well to reduce that.

But even super cold, and well shielded over a very long time you still got cosmic rays that’ll degrade things. Bury it deep and you still get neutrinos to deal with. Though each additional layer of protection could potentially add orders of magnitude to how long the thing will last.

End result, yeah, everything degrades without upkeep. Maybe it will take millions of years if you specifically design something for extremely long life, but it will still happen.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It would definitely degrade, and faster than you might hope. All of the plastics, rubbers, synthetic fibers, weather stripping and paint are going to keep breaking down regardless of the presence of oxygen and light. The process may be slowed in some cases, but museums are starting to confront this issue with their modern collections. I remember one article about a panicked curator wondering why a moonshot-era spacesuit was breaking down, even in an airtight case. They found that the rubber hoses and gaskets were breaking down and releasing acidic vapors which then attacked the cloth and metal.

A car has loads of solvents, petrochemicals and such in and on it, and they would all break down and release god-knows-what. Even if you constantly flushed the atmosphere with more argon you’d only slow the process, not stop it.