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Researcher Solves Puzzle of Cracks in Mid-Century paintings | Smithsonian Insider
Traditional oil-base fine-art paints form a sturdy cross-linked structure as they cure; their molecules bonding tightly together. Zinc whites cure into a series of very thin layers of stiff plates. In commercial house paints, the problem is that they are “under bound” with too much pigment and too little binder to hold it all together. As mid-1900s house paints cure and are subject to stress, they form a series of tiny cracks or micro fissures.