Cyanotype lifespan

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Jitterbug, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. Jitterbug

    Jitterbug Member

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    Hello!

    I was wondering if a cyanotype would last up to 10,000 years in a light tight, oxygen free environment? Time capsule you see.
     
  2. edp

    edp Member

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    "Up to" 10,000 years, in the same way that my internet connection is "up to" 20Mb.
     
  3. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    No, there is no way to guarantee that...

    "Up to 10,000 years" means the same as "Less than 10,000 years."
    There is an outside chance it might last for more than 10,000 years, so the answer is 'no'.

    * * *

    On a more serious note: the life will be limited by the life of the substrate - the paper or whatever the cyanotype is made on. If made on a ceramic tile there is every chance it will last "10,000 years or more." The cyanotype pigment - "Prussian Blue" - is very stable.

    Papyrus has been shown to last several thousand years in dry conditions.
     
  4. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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  5. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I found a book at the library from the late 1800's with some cyanotypes/blueprints inside it. They were absolutely immaculate.
     
  6. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I once did a cyanotype on the sidewalk. It lasted about 8 months. I don't know if it ws sun fade or it it washed off, but it was a lot less permanent than my experience with cyano on paper.
     
  7. Jitterbug

    Jitterbug Member

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    In say "up to" Because I was considering a tiered approach, IE 100 years, 500, 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 years. I figure by the time the next capsule opens, all the artifacts frome the previous will have been lost.

    I was also wondering, what causes paper to turn yellow and brittle?
     
  8. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    I think traditionally the answer to that is acid... and cyanotype prefers acidic (or neutral) conditions so maybe it's not the best thing for a 10,000 year old photo.
    I think the Long Now project was looking at carbon printing on metal?
     
  9. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    And I'll second that i've seen very old cyanotypes, some Anna Atkins ones up close.
     
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    The cyanotype likely will, but the standard substrates used will not: cloth, paper, etc. Try making one on stone if you want it to last 10,000 years.
     
  11. Jitterbug

    Jitterbug Member

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    Does that mean acid free paper would last longer?
     
  12. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    yes.
     
  13. Jitterbug

    Jitterbug Member

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    Thank you all for your answers. Would aluminium foil Be a suitable substrate?
     
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  15. musila

    musila Member

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  16. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I might be worse than paper. It can rot away within a decade or two based on what I've seen in some cases, and it would be difficult to get a good bond between the aluminum and the emulsion. It's just too fragile. I'd be more inclined to use a stainless steel plate with some good thickness (1/8 inch, maybe). But I still think stone is the most feasible way to go, balancing cost with longevity.
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    sorry j -
    it looks like the answer is " it depends" ...
    (on the stuff printed on )
     
  18. Jitterbug

    Jitterbug Member

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    The issue with stone is the size. Limeted space in the time capsule you know.

    What about glass?
     
  19. bwfans

    bwfans Member

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    Think about the antique objects of about 10,000 years old. What are they generally made of?

    May be Cyanotype on gold foil.
     
  20. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    How did you sensitize the area on the sidewalk? And did you coat it afterward? Or was it exposed to foot traffic?
     
  21. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Like Nicholas said, ceramic would be a pretty good bet. Gold.... always a good choice. Glass, I don't see why not. Some might even say that a high-grade plastic would be up the challenge, like polyethylene, and that could be rolled up.

    But, is cyanotype really the longest lived photo artifact out there? Platinum/palladium might be better, or even carbon.

    By the way, are you actually going to be putting this in a time capsule?? That's awesome...
     
  22. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    You can get stone cut and shaped you know, A piece of stone the thickness of a piece of glass can be done easily, they may even have some at your local home store. You might have to clean it up to give the surface you want, but stone is doable. Remember that stone can be more fragile than glass.
     
  23. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Thanks for asking... it was a fun experiment.

    I just dumped sensitizer on the sidewalk and covered it up until it was dried. Then put a neg on top (I had a very large -- maybe 24 x 36 copy neg at the time) and exposed. Then hosed off with a garden hose. Nothing more. It was in a part of the sidewalk that was basically unused but had sun exposure during the entire day -- all year long.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2011
  24. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    Was the sidewalk freshly poured, green concrete? Or well set already?

    I want to make 18x18 decorative paving stones.

    If they get foot traffic then I would need some clear sealer on top to prevent wear, too.

    Maybe this deserves it's own thread.
     
  25. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Well set. The sidewalk was probably 20 or 25 years old at the time.

    In addition to its own thread, I think this concept could use some good (rigorous) experimentation. I also wonder if a sealant prior to coating could help also.
     
  26. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    Actually I was thinking the other direction. Concrete is full of ferric compounds. If you're working with it green one generally works the dyes into the top few mm of the surface.

    If a way can be found to exploit the ferric chemistry of concrete into a natural sensitized layer then it is part of the surface, not just sitting on top of the surface.

    Of course, there is a real possibility that the other reactions going on to set the concrete would wreck any light sensitivity. But it sure sounds worth trying.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2011