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News from the Lab: Setting the Framework from Mechanical Refreshment to De-acidification

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NOA GmbH and Phonogrammarchiv
Presentation type: 
spoken paper
27 Sept Tuesday
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LoC Madison Building: Montpelier Rm.

Within our actual research project, together with high ranking Austrian research institutions, a method to permanently refresh brittle acetate media has been developed and will be available for audio tapes and also cinematographic film material. The paper starts with a brief summary of the mechanisms of acetate degradation as well as related aging phenomena in audio-visual carrier materials, and outlines the recently developed restoration and preservation process. Our investigations have shown, that although the autocatalytic degradation of cellulose based material cannot be cured, it is possible to largely revert the effects of loss of plasticizers and to substantially reduce the acidity content of the acetate carrier to a value below the autocatalytic point. As a result, the storability of the material will be extended for many years, allowing archives worldwide to move forward in their migration and digitization strategy. Dedicated verification processes have been developed to verify the chemical treatment.

Our present focus is set on extensive acidity reduction and material neutralization, and further development is ongoing with the aim to obtain an internal buffer action within the material. In cooperation with international institutions, a research partnership has been started to study the results and effects of the refreshment procedure in the long term.