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    Review of 'The causes of air movement in hidden indoor micro-environments: measurements in historic bookshelves'

    The causes of air movement in hidden indoor micro-environments: measurements in historic bookshelvesCrossref
    Paper would benefit from more comprehensive analysis.
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    The causes of air movement in hidden indoor micro-environments: measurements in historic bookshelves

    The use of ventilation holes in small micro-environments has been proposed by the National Trust as a mechanism to improve the environmental conditions of moisture and temperature within bookshelves. At one National Trust historic property, this mechanism has been used to encourage air movement behind books as a possible strategy to reduce the risk of mould growth. It is believed that including ventilation holes as a passive design solution to promote airflow within micro-environments could prevent decay from occurring in archives of historic buildings. This paper investigates the mechanisms that cause airflow behind bookshelves using field measurements in three National Trust historical libraries. The measurements indicate that small but measurable velocities, up to 4 cm/s, can be generated passively behind bookshelves. Air movement in such confined micro-environments is probably caused by a combination of natural convection, caused by temperature differences between the walls and the interior and the exterior of the bookshelf, and forced convection due to drafts in the surrounding environment. While in some cases one mechanism prevailed, both mechanisms may be present simultaneously in most cases. Further research is needed to clarify how surface temperature drives air motion behind shelves.

      Review information

      This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com.

      Preventive conservation,Historic buildings,Built environment,Micro-environment,Air movement,Mould

      Review text

      Wall temperatures could be approximated by knowledge of outdoor temperatures and properties of the walls. This information needs to be included. The intended more comprehensive analysis could be included in the present paper to increase relevance and credibility.


      Many thanks to the reviewer for his constructive comment. As the reviewer mentioned, wall temperature can be approximated using external temperature and the wall's properties, but this fall outside the purpose of this study. The scope of this study was not to assess the specific hygrothermal conditions behind shelves but to understand changes in the conditions resulting from the libraries' activities, including visitors' movements and staff working during closed periods. The wider aim of the research project is to understand if and how air movement can be used as a preventive conservation measure to tackle mould issues in historic libraries, specifically in their bookshelves. An initial survey done in historic buildings in the UK showed that despite using environmental control strategies historic buildings still face many mould issues, which indicates the need for complementary strategies to prevent its occurrence. Following the survey, the research presented in this article wants to understand what is happening behind shelves and the impact of internal conditions. The results and data collected in this study have been used to inform the next chapters of the main author’s research, which include experimental work in the control of air movement in bookshelves using set-ups similar to those found in historic shelves (round holes and continuous ventilation gaps).

      2022-12-08 12:54 UTC

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