Can I get a Chemist's Opinion??

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Leon, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. Leon

    Leon Member

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    I think it's common knowledge that wetting agents like Ilfotol are essentially a purer form of washing detergent more commonly used for when I wash dinner plates (why is it always my turn to do the dishes???). However, there are also other ingredients that might be harmful to our negatives so we dont use them (am I right so far?) and spend out on expensive proprietary products.

    I was discussing this with a fellow photography nut the other day and he raised the possibility of using one of the ecologically safe detergents instead as these would surely not have any substance that might ruin our films ....? So being a bit of a numbskull, I thought I'd list the ingredients and see if any of the APUG chemists can say if they would be harmful or not:-

    5-15% plant based anionic and non-ionic tensio-activesurfactants
    water
    milk
    whey
    plant based fragrance
    extracts of camomile and marigold
    salt
    citric acid
    100% biodegradable preservative

    what do you think? is this a way to save a bit of hard earned cash or just a no-brainer from the start???? (either way it cleans my dishes up a treat!)
     
  2. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    You want to use this as a photoflow type solution in a final rinse, right?

    The first two ingredients look fine, after that I think things start going down hill. The whey, especially stands out. It is a protein and may stick to the gelatin in the film emulsion, which is a protein as well. I don't know if would leave a noticable residue. The salt and citric acid are probably not ideal for the film also.

    Anyway, regular photoflows are proven solutions with very simple ingrediant lists. Why risk your film to something else, at least without doing some testing first?

    And are you sure your Ilfotol is not biodegradable?
     
  3. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I think that the first and last ingredients in your list are vague and I know that labels are like that. Secondly, do you really want something which contains salt on your negatives?

    Do you really want your negatives to smell just like they came off the clothesline? :wink:
     
  4. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Photoflo gets diluted 200 times. Something like that. The distilled water I use to mix it up likely costs more then the photoflo.

    If you want to sub something else I think I'd look for something that is a pure wetting agent. You're paying for marketing and likely a nice bottle with that detergent.

    Or if you're trying to save money buy the BIG bottle-)

    http://www.usask.ca/lists/alt-photo-process/2003/sep03/0530.htm

    That thread mentions Triton X-100 in photoflo. If you can find it.

    I don't remember what is in Kodak C-41 stablizer. With the formalhyde being removed it might just be photoflo. You'd have to check how much a bottle makes to see if you'd save money.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Wetting agent / Photoflow is made from an anionic pure detergent with no additives other than sometimes an alcohol.

    Teepol is one proprietary product, but would need extreme dilution. Most commercial & domestic detegents have additives which cwould leave marks on films as they dry, or have other derimental effects on the emulsion.

    Ian
     
  6. Tammyk

    Tammyk Member

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    Leon,
    Indeed TritonX100 will probably work. In the states we can get a 100mL bottle for $15 at VRW. (It's international?)

    a little of this goes a LONG LONG LONG way. (a surfactant with a lot of power). It's also "green" and pretty environmentally safe.

    by the way, I do not hardly ever use a wetting agent anymore. I switched to distilled water and I left water spots behind.

    -Tammy
    (also a chemist :smile:)
     
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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  8. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Some years ago I was told that one of the major protofinishers routinely used a dish washing detergent instead of Photo-Flo, however they used a hypoallergenic variety without colors or fragrances.

    The following formula is similar to Photo-Flo 200 but without the antifoam agent which really isn't needed for non-mechanical use.

    Propylene glycol ......................... 250 ml
    Triton X-100 ............................. 75 ml
    Distilled water to make ................ 1.0 l

    The X-100 is first thoroughly mixed with the propylene glycol and then diluted to make 1 liter. X-100 is very syrupy and hard to dissolve in water without the glycol. The Chemistry Store sells Triton X-100 for $11 a quart. If you don't want to use the glycol you can mix the X-100 with isopropyl alcohol. Sprint's End Run wetting agent uses isopropyl alcohol.

    I've used this formula for several years without any problems. I typically add 5 drops to 8 ounces of tap water as a final rinse.
     
  9. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    If you want to replace Photo-Flo with something you make yourself, and keep things environmentally friendly, perhaps you should consider a green soap solution. This material has been sold in pharmacies for decades (ye gods, I hope you can still get it, it's a critical ingredient in model airplane rubber motor lubricant), and comes in a tincture (alcohol solution) that can probably be added directly if you wash in distilled water (rather than hard tap water).

    However, another potential alternative that's much closer to the original product is bubble liquid. You know, like the kids use with that little wand to blow soap bubbles? It's similar strength to Photo-Flo concentrate, non-toxic enough to hand the bottle to a five year old, and costs about fifty cents for a quantity similar to a five dollar bottle of Photo-Flo. And there's no milk or whey in there to make your film go sour...
     
  10. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    I use this with the isopropyl alcohol formulation. Beware, a little Triton X-100 goes a L O N G way. Don't use too much. I bought a 500 ml batch in 1990 and still have most of it today.
     
  11. Jordan

    Jordan Member

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    I like Gerald's formula. Triton-X is the surfactant you want to use (non-ionic and quite hydrophilic). Most people go overboard with wetting agent, I think... The idea isn't to make a bubble bath, but just to reduce water beading on the film.

    I'm currently using a wetting agent from Photographer's Formulary. They recommend two drops per roll of film in the tank. At that rate my 125-ml bottle will last forever.