Audio Tape Digitisation Workflow

1.1.2. Inspect for damage / Look for chemical deterioration / Vinegar syndrome

Look for chemical deterioration of historic tapes with a substrate of cellulose acetate (produced until 1970's):

Identification of cellulose acetate tapes:
Brown or bay colour, rarely black. Tape pack translucent when back-lit. Tape breaks easily with nearly straight edges

Typical deformations are caused by:
  • Different elongation and stretching properties of the components
  • Hygroscopic tape components
  • Vinegar syndrome
    • Brittleness
    • Deformation ("spoking", "cupping")
    • Cracks

Chemical deterioration
Acetate deformation / cupping

Spoking effect
Acetate deformation / spoking effect
Spoking effect
Acetate deformation /spoking effect 

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