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Subject: Developer-incorporated RC papers

Developer-incorporated RC papers

From: Doug Nishimura <dwnpph>
Date: Monday, October 25, 1993
I sent this to someone in response to a phone call that I got several
months ago and I realized that maybe it was important enough to post.

Since late 1991, the problem of incorporated developer migration has
become more and more of a problem.  When I was calling around to Ilford
I spoke to Rod Parsons who was very surprised.  They had only heard of 5
cases of the problem in 6 years (since 1985).  Now since that time, it
is becoming a more common.  It has been raised as an issue at the ANSI
Standards Sub-committee IT9-2 (black-and-white paper) which (who?) is
trying to put together a manufacturing specification document.  This
document defines various tests that a black-and-white photographic paper
must meet in order to be able to claim that it meets the standards.  I
will digress briefly to add that the ANSI (at least physical properties
and permanence of imaging media committee IT9) produces three types of
documents: 1) Manufacturing (and processing) specifications, 2) test
methods and 3) storage recommendations. Short test methods may be
incorporated into specification documents but if a test is complex it
must go into its own document.

This particular document will help to screen poor quality papers and is
particularly directed at the small manufacturers in Europe and Asia who
are just emerging (with 40 year old technology or worse.) This way, it
is possible to buy paper based on more than just cost.  We have already
found some papers that apparently are quite inexpensive, but which would
never last any reasonable time without yellowing and cracking.

The sub-committee has decided that it is important to create a test that
will allow screening of paper.  It is particularly important since all
of the manufacturers (Kodak, Ilford, Agfa, Fuji, Konica and Polaroid are
all represented) have said that as far as any of them know, all of the
RC papers are developer incorporated.  The difference is to what degree
and how much other stuff is also in there.  I should point out that IPI,
National Geographic, National Archives of Canada, CAL (Smithsonian),
Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, and NARA as well as a
Henry Wilhelm (independent although representing Preservation
Publishing) and Peter Krause (independent) are all represented in
addition to the manufacturers.

At least since the companies are aware of the problem, they have all
started working on trying to fix it (as far as I know.)  Originally, the
developer incorporation was only for rapid machine processing.  These
machines (like the Ektamatic) didn't use a developer or a fixing bath.
The print was put into an alkaline bath that entered the paper very
quickly and activated the incorporated developer in the paper.  The
print was then sent to a stabilization bath and then dried.

What the companies found though was that the developer incorporated
papers were also popular for tray processing.  The reason was that the
alkalinity and the water (among other things) penetrated the paper
emulsion much faster than the developing agents in the developer.  This
meant that by having developers in the paper, the images started to
appear much quicker. So the incorporated developers started the process
and then as the slower developing agents entered the emulsion, they took

The transfer problem occurs mainly when unprocessed paper is kept in a
stack (like the box it came in) under reasonably humid conditions.
Diffusion does not tend to occur as easily without moisture (humidity)
being present.

In his book, Henry Wilhelm points out that "Apparently, the longer a
developer- incorporated RC paper remains in storage prior to processing,
the more severe the brownish stain may eventually become."

Henry recommended both Polymax RC Paper and Polyprint RC Paper in his
book since both are supposed to be non-developer incorporated (both are
Kodak papers).  It is interesting though that one of these papers tested
by another manufacturer had, in fact, one of the highest levels of
developer incorporation that they had ever seen.

Unfortunately, the Reilly article (that I suspect some of you have read
that says that RC papers from the major manufacturers are just as good
as the fiber based papers in terms of stability) was written not too
long after DI became so wide spread. The article thus became dated very
quickly. In Jim's defense I'll say that the problem was not the quality
of the data, but because of recent changes in the content of the papers
by the manufacturers.

With any luck, the manufacturers will either fix the problem or give up
on the DI.  The ANSI standards should also include a test to screen out
problematic papers.  When the standard comes out, any paper sold that
claims to meet the standards must also pass this test.  Obviously the
manufacturers on the committee will want their papers to pass the test,
but this is why the end users are also represented.  Places like the
archives would never agree to a test criteria that allows what they feel
are bad papers to pass. Ditto for IPI, Henry, Peter and the other user


                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:36
                Distributed: Saturday, October 30, 1993
                        Message Id: cdl-7-36-001
Received on Monday, 25 October, 1993

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