O’Keeffe Museum Obtains Patent for High-Tech Crate | Technology

“We should partner with someone for production,” he said. “We need production capacity.”

The museum produced four alpha models of the box-in-a-box concept that Kronkright developed with a team of retired vibration engineers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and agricultural machinery manufacturer John Deere.

Right now, Kronkright is lab testing a beta model. A test drive will follow with inconsequential works of art transported on trucks and planes. This will determine if the vibrations of the works of art are successfully damped.

Kronkright determined that paintings are most vulnerable when vibrating between 10 and 50 hertz (cycles per second), noting that humans start hearing vibrations at around 200 hertz. Kronkright also determined that the paints in the trucks vibrated in “double drum mode”, which means that one half of a paint may vibrate at a different rate than the other half.

“Trucks vibrate between 10 and 60 hertz,” he said. “It literally couldn’t be worse for the paintings. The trucks vibrate at exactly the wrong range. Airplanes vibrate between 200 and 1,000 hertz.

Kronkright’s decade-long ambition has been to create a transport container capable of damping vibrations at 5 hertz.

The research led the museum to receive a first patent for vibration damping in the picture frame, and this month the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a second patent for vibration damping in the container of transport. A third patent is pending that deals with vibrations in the corners that hold the paint in place.

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