Drying wet documents and books

Drying is an intervention of fundamental importance in emergency situations and catastrophic events that put paper archives, libraries and books affected by water at risk.

This type of intervention is indicated for damage to paper material caused by water and mud (during floods, floods, fire extinguishing, broken systems and pipes) or by prolonged stay in humid and unhealthy environments.

There are numerous procedures for drying documents. For about 20 years, Fratielivi has opted for the freeze-drying method: the most effective and performing.

Freeze-drying for drying and its advantages

Freeze -drying is a solution for drying wet books and documents which uses a process based on the use of physical processes and which has many advantages:


  • Respect the environment
  • It does not subject books or paper archives to potentially dangerous chemicals in the long term
  • It is effective and cost-effective compared to other methods
  • It allows you to act quickly and on large quantities of material

The freeze-drying process

Freeze-drying is a physical process that allows you to remove water from a body, after it has been frozen, making it evaporate in an environment in which a vacuum has been created. The freeze-drying procedure takes place in a vacuum environment and is divided into three phases: freezing, evaporation (sublimation), hydrocondensation.

  • In the first phase, the water that impregnates the documents is frozen in the treatment chamber.
  • In the second phase, through the heating of the treatment chamber, the previously frozen water is evaporated without passing back to the solid state (sublimation).
  • In the third stage, the vapor generated in the sublimation process is extracted from the treatment chamber, externally condensed, returned to the liquid state and expelled.

Sublimation avoids further damage to the processed documents because it respects the structure of the paper and other elements (bindings of leather, parchment, wood, etc.) and inhibits the proliferation of mold.

The Books Wind 1

This plant, called Books Wind1 is still the largest in Italy and is the only one tested and approved by the Central Institute for Book Pathology.


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