Non-destructive compositional analysis of historic organ reed pipes

A. Manescu, F. Fiori, A. Giuliani, N. Kardjilov, Z. Kasztovszky, F. Rustichelli, B. Straumal

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In order to be able to reproduce historic organ reed pipes, a bulk non-destructive chemical composition analysis was performed on the tongues and shallots, focusing mainly on the ratio between copper and zinc and on the presence of lead. Prompt gamma activation analysis results allowed us to observe for the first time that the ratio between the two main components of the brass alloy changed from Cu:Zn = 3:1 for the old tongues and shallots to Cu:Zn = 2:1 around the middle of the 18th century, which is typical also for the modern alloys offered to the organ builders nowadays. We also discovered that the Pb content in the old historic brass alloy diminished until the middle of 18th century when the brass alloy became mainly Pb free. The non-uniform lead distribution inside one of the shallots obtained from a prompt gamma activation analysis (PGAA) experiment was studied by neutron tomography. It gave us a three-dimensonal (3D) distribution of the lead inclusions inside the shallots. The lead particles are concentrated towards the base of the shallot.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104250
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Mar 12 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this

Manescu, A., Fiori, F., Giuliani, A., Kardjilov, N., Kasztovszky, Z., Rustichelli, F., & Straumal, B. (2008). Non-destructive compositional analysis of historic organ reed pipes. Journal of Physics Condensed Matter, 20(10), [104250].