"Blooming" of gelatin?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by konakoa, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. konakoa

    konakoa Member

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    Can someone offer an explanation of why all the alternative processes state hard gelatin (photo grade) has to "bloom" before it can be used? What's going on during this cold water phase? That is, why is it necessary for gelatin to sit in cold water for so long before it's finally heated up and goes into solution?

    I've let gelatin sit and bloom, and then I've also taken the gelatin granules right out of the container and dissolved it in hot water right away. It works both ways (I use it as paper sizing). I'm curious, what's going on during the blooming step and why is it required?
     
  2. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    This step is done to allow the gelatine to absorb water and dissolve evenly and not clump. The same thing is done when using gelatine for food purposes.
     
  3. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    If it bothers you, omit the step and just wait! :wink:

    After a few hours waiting, it will teach you that allowing for blooming is not all that bad! :wink:

    PE
     
  4. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Honestly, I've kinda wondered the same thing. I usually allow for this bloom so I haven't seen the negative impacts of not doing it, but now I'm curious what happens if omitted.
     
  5. Photo Engineer

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    I bloom gelatin either in cold water or in the emulsion make itself, depending on the amount of water needed and the amount of digestion needed. Adding gelatin solids directly to the emulsion before digestion will allow the gelatin to bloom during the digestion and will limit the amount of extra water added. However, this "bloom" takes up to 1 hour, so the digestion should be planned to last that long as well.

    PE
     
  6. CMB

    CMB Member

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    The swelling of gelatin in cold water followed by a melt serves two functions:


    1. Directly mixing gelatin in hot water introduces air bubbles due to the agitation of the mixture. Heating a swollen gelatin to a liquid state allows the mix to degas.


    Commercial film coating is typically accomplished without this swelling stage. Heated mixing kettles capable of holding 750 -1500 liters feed into devices that filter and degas the mix.


    2. The bonds of the polypeptide chains formed by a swell/melt gelatin mix are somewhat stronger than a directly mixed and heated one. This is probably more important for alt processes that rely on cross-linking for image formation.


    Charles
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    For these situations, mixing conditions are avoided that introduce bubbles, and antifoamants are present to suppress bubble formation.

    In modern making and coating, the addition of solid or even bloomed gelatin is avoided. With modern wash methods, gelatin is added at between 12.5% and 22% (the latter as either pellets or as a syrup). The volume is then readjusted during the wash operation to give the desired volume and gelatin content. This is usually 1 kg / mole of silver and between 5 and 10% gelatin.

    I have never heard of nor experienced the change in bonding Charles. Perhaps it takes place with some gelatins. I do know it happens if you heat the gelatin too much under extremes of pH, either acid or alkaline or if you heat the gelatin over 70C for an extended period. I avoid all of these.

    PE
     
  8. konakoa

    konakoa Member

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    Original poster here. Gerald, Charles, thanks for your replies. I must reiterate I'm using gelatin as a paper sizing, not as an emulsion.

    Air bubbles, digestion, noodling, molecular weight, I'm not doing any of that. I'm not making film. Now in the future I want to use gelatin as a base/emulsion for printing on ceramic or glass--then that will be very useful information.

    Again, for sizing paper, numerous books I've read and various websites state to allow the gelatin to bloom but never why. I've let gelatin bloom as described....

    ....and then I've also simply put a measured amount of dry gelatin granules in a glass lab beaker, filled it with hot water and then placed the beaker in a hot water bath to keep the temperature up. Some slow stirring with a glass rod, the gelatin melts and it looks identical to the cold bloom gelatin. Is this wrong?
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Generally, for the purposes you describe, to make 10% gelatin for sizing:

    900 grams of water at room temp (20C)
    100 graams of 250 BI gelatin (Bloom Index which has nothing to do with blooming gelatin)

    Gently stir the gelatin into the cool water and begin warming to 40 deg C. Hold there until all gelatin has melted and dissolved. Add preservative and chill set until use.

    This entire process is called Blooming.

    There is an alternative method also called blooming and is used for addition of solid gelatin to an emulsion or any gelatin based alternate process.

    Take 100 g of gelatin and add small increments of ice cold water (under 10C). Just wet the gelatin and then allow it to worm to 20 C while absorbing that cold water. Record the weight change. This gelatin should not be stored but rather used immediately.

    When needed in your formula, add the required amount of Bloomed gelatin noting weight of gelatin and water to get your total change.

    In many cases, this sort of blooming step is omitted and gelatin is added directly to the hot light sensitive mixture.

    So, as you see, there are basically 3 methods of getting from here to there and two of them are called blooming gelatin but use entirely different methods and which are often used for different purposes.

    I hope this sheds more light on the terminology and your question. Sorry about the confusion.

    PE
     
  10. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    It sounds like the OP wishes to have as little fuss as possible when it comes to sizing. With that in mind, if the method seems to be working, and the hardener is still getting that gelatin to a sufficient level of insolubility, then no harm no foul I guess.

    Thoughts?
     
  11. Photo Engineer

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    Overhardening can negate the effect of sizing.

    PE
     
  12. Polder

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    setting of gelatine

    Hello to you all,

    Could there be a standard, apart from Bloom, that describes the setting or coagulating properties of gelatin?
    I simply can´t get the right emulsion viscosity for coating paper. It remains as fluid as water, adding more bloomed gelatin doe not have a positive effect.
    I´ve been using photograde gelatin up to now, I am going to give foodgrade gelatin a try. Temperature at 40 Celsius.

    Thanks for your help

    Henk
     
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Henk;

    You are confusing the term "blooming" with Bloom Index or BI. Blooming is the act of softening gelatin with a small amount of water prior to addition to the emulsion. BI or Bloom Index refers to the coagulating properties and viscosity of the gelatin. Figures usually range from 75 BI to 250 BI or even 300 BI. Normal photo grade gelatin is about 250 BI and at about 5 - 10% will coat properly at about 40C - 45C. If there are too many salts left in the emulsion it will be more fluid, and it will be more fluid if there is Alcohol present.

    Remember, coat film and plates on a surface that is hot and with the plate hot, but coat paper on a cold surface for best results. Make sure that your coating instrument of whatever kind is hot.

    PE
     
  14. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    Henk,

    Try reducing the temperature of the emulsion for coating. I really think you should try that before you introduce other variables. I coat paper at 40C, but I coat film at 34C and plates at 37-38C. Adjusting temperature is a serious "trick of the trade."
    d

    fwiw, I don't pre-heat my coating tools no matter what I'm coating. If you do pre-heat, recognize that is a temperature variable that must be addressed with changes to emulsion temperature.
     
  15. Polder

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    Denise,

    Thanks, I won´t give up. No way. I just have to keep it simple. I had the idea of bying a heated car windscreen in Holland. A rear window I mean, flat, straight. One of my funny ideas.
    I first try to sort out at which temperature the emulsion starts to set, then I´ll try to coat just above that temperature.
    Apart from your video tutorial in a movie about George Eastman, you could very well see how the emulsion was of a thickish nature and was applied by the same puddle pusher technique a you showed.
    I know there are other ways too, but I´ll keep that for anotherday.
    Have a good time,

    Henk
     
  16. Polder

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    Hello PE

    Thanks PE , I looked it up this Patent Thing of Oskar Bloom.

    I just wondered if there could be quality differences not meant by this Bloom index. My Adox gelatin could differ from any other quality.
    Thanks again for helping me on.

    Henk
     
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Henk;

    Gelatin sets at 20C. That is its melting point in water, regardless of BI. However, on paper it appears to set even when warm, as the water is absorbed into the paper support. You can observe this because the wet melted gelatin is glossy, but as it absorbs into paper and begins to set, it becomes hazy or mildly matte in texture.

    The Adox gelatin and paper appear to be very fine materials. I have tested the Baryta paper with good results. But, I use Kodak, Rousselot or Gelita gelatin here.

    PE