Anoxic (oxygen-free) conditions are used for the storage of fragile organic artefacts, as well as for pest control. Anoxia is also used to store sensitive metals (such as archeological iron) and minerals (pyrites) to prevent corrosion. Hypoxic (reduced oxygen) conditions are used to provide fire-proof storage of archives.
Anoxic environments can be created by a variety of means. The simplest method is created using only a well-sealed container (usually made of a flexible barrier film), and Ageless oxygen absorber. Anoxic environments can also be created by displacing the air with a purge of nitrogen or argon gas, sometimes in combination with a vacuum.
Oxygen-free conditions are occasionally used for anoxic museum display, which may be achieved using either active and passive methods. All anoxic display methods require superbly designed and sealed showcases, as well as an investment in monitoring and maintenance.
The atmosphere normally contains around 20% oxygen. When oxygen levels are reduced and held at less than 17%, combustion cannot occur. At 17% oxygen levels near normal access to stored collections can be maintained. With suitable machinery and building envelope modifications, hypoxic conditions may be created in an archive as a fire prevention method.
Keepsafe Microclimate Systems offers expertise in many aspects of low oxygen storage and display, including access to state-of-the-art nitrogen generators, active humidity controllers, passive humidity buffering, Escal barrier films, and Ageless and RP System oxygen absorbers. We are pleased to be the North American distributor of ZerO2 products, including their Flexicube anoxic pest control system.