Hot melt glues Tut Ankh Amun’s beard

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  • Previous incorrect use of adhesives damaged the 3,000-year-old mask of Tut Ankh Amun
  • Glue has to withstand high temperatures and vibration
  • Customized adhesives system from Henkel

This news went around the world: The beard of the world-famous, more than 3,000-year-old golden mask of Tut Ankh Amun fell off during a cleaning procedure and was hastily glued back on improperly. Yesterday the restored golden mask of the young pharaoh was presented to the world public during a ceremony at the Egyptian museum in Cairo. To make sure that the beard now sticks to the mask a customized adhesives system from Henkel is used.

Previous incorrect use of adhesives damaged the 3,000-year-old mask of Tut Ankh Amun

The story began when Dr. Dirk Kasper, a specialist in hotmelt adhesives, read a newspaper article about how the incorrect use of adhesives had damaged the more than 3,000-year-old mask of Tut Ankh Amun. He called the restoration team straight away to offer support.

His colleague Dr. Rainer Schönfeld was then invited to examine the mask with his team:

“The beard had been incorrectly glued to the mask using an epoxy. We have a great deal of expertise about epoxy technologies – and we also know how to remove this kind of adhesive.”

Henkel’s adhesives experts help restore Tut Ankh Amun’s mask

Henkel’s adhesives experts help restore Tut Ankh Amun’s mask (source: Henkel)

Glue has to withstand high temperatures and vibration

His team conducted detailed analysis and developed a method to remove the epoxy glue from the mask without leaving any residue. At the same time, they checked what kind of glue would be best suited for the restoration. The requirements were high: The adhesive has to be removable without leaving any residue, and had to be able to withstand the high temperatures in Egypt as well as vibration during the transport.

In numerous physical measures, 3D-models and application tests the experts were able to develop the ideal adhesive.

“It is our daily business to design high-tech glue – but this project was extremely exciting for the whole team! We are all extremely proud that a high-tech hotmelt adhesive from Henkel is now holding together the world-famous mask of Tut Ankh Amun!”



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