I am cross-posting this to all three ARSC lists to throw a wide net, but 
PLEASE let's continue the discussion on the main ARSC list or by email 
to me directly, preferably at [log in to unmask]

Recently, I have been in discussions with a group who has analytical 
equipment that might be useful for analyzing tape degradation, and they 
appear interested in running some tests. We may not need massive amounts 
of testing. A few well-thought out tests may be of immense assistance.

Benoit Thiebaut of the Prestospace project ran a test for my 2008 paper 
which presented evidence that there was no loss of lubricant in 
tapes--the lubricant was still there, but yet the tape squealed. This 
led to a test by Ric Bradshaw at the IBM tape lab in Tucson showing a 
low glass transition temperature for a squealing tape (about 8 °C). 
These helped in the understanding of why cold playback and D5 
lubrication both could be used to stop squealing.

The first step is for all of us to chime in about what we think needs to 
be analyzed.

Here is the first one:

I have great concern for the apparent increase in binder-base adhesion 
failure. This is happening with both acetate and polyester base films.

We should be aware of Tom Fine's conjecture that the dry (and cold) 
storage recommended for (and apparently good for) polyester base film 
tapes may be drying out and damaging acetate base film tapes.

We should also be aware that Ric Bradshaw has suggested that baking 
tapes may lead to binder-base adhesion failure. And, of course we need 
to remember that one never bakes an acetate tape.

What do YOU want tested?

The second step will be to collect samples for analysis. Apparently 
25-50 mm of material is adequate (smaller can be used). For separating 
tapes both separated and non-separated samples would be useful. Metadata 
is important to understand context and should include as much of the 
following as is known: manufacturer, type, date of manufacture, presumed 
storage conditions over time, any known treatments, observations at time 
of playback, and anything you can think of that might be useful.




Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.