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Subject: Vinegar syndrome

Vinegar syndrome

From: Deborah Rohan <deb.rohan<-a>
Date: Thursday, March 20, 2014
Deborah Sutherland <d.sutherland<-a t->vam< . >ac< . >uk> writes

>The National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London,
>recently opened a Chubb fire safe that had been inaccessible for two
>decades.  The contents had vinegar syndrome and have been disposed
>of appropriately, but we would like to re-use the safe to store
>nineteenth century manuscripts.  However, even after some weeks of
>"airing" it continues to have a vinegar odour. ...

At Cambridgeshire Archives Service, some years ago, we had to keep a
collection of degraded acetate negatives until they could be copied.
I found that Merck and other chemical suppliers offered several
zeolite molecular sieves, one of them being the right grade to
adsorb acetic acid.  This effectively removed the vinegar odour from
the storage container.  It came in granular chunks looking rather
like rabbit food (if I remember it correctly), and needed periodic
replacement while the negatives were in store.  I'd suggest
spreading some over a shallow tray in your safe to present the
greatest surface area to the air, allowing more rapid removal of the
acetic acid vapour.

Deborah Rohan

                  Conservation DistList Instance 27:36
                 Distributed: Saturday, March 22, 2014
                       Message Id: cdl-27-36-005
Received on Thursday, 20 March, 2014

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