Faster fixing, faster washing

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Photo Engineer, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Many years ago, Grant Haist wrote that faster fix and wash rates could be achieved by using a method to swell gelatin. Using bone gelatin, he suggested formulating a high pH fixer which would maximize swell and thus accelerate fix and wash rates. The result we have today is TF-3 and TF-4.

    While his work was going on in B-82 at KP, just down the street in B-59 a team was working on other means. This included a variety of methods. I'm going to list a few here.

    1. Mix fixing agents that are superadditive in fix rates (only affects fix rate normally, but low molecular weight or small fixing agents will also improve wash rate).

    2. Add an agent to induce greater gelatin swell without damaging the emulsion. This improves fix and wash rates.

    3. Higher pH and a combiation of the above. Improves fix and wash rates.

    4. Add an agent that promotes silver metal image stability if any is left in the coating. Allows shorter wash times.

    There were 3 of us working on this approach for fixes and blixes. There was another team working on a conventional approach.

    But, using some combination of the 4 above, a huge reduction in fix and wash times for silver halide materials can be achieved as well as a true blix for color film. In fact, the fix time can be made to approach the clear time and the actual diffusion rate of chemistry into and out of the coating. On modern films this is on the order of 15" - 30" at 20 deg C.

    My Super Fix, poste here one time or another and on Photo Net as well, is an early example of one such fix.

    Well, I am on Super Fix VIII, and I can say that after about 3 years, it works. I can say though that I finally have a high speed fix that washes out rapidly, is odorless, and has high capacity. It uses all of the above listed methods and is a result of nearly 30 years study of bleaching, fixing and washing. Bill Troop and I have worked on this quite a bit over the last few years and hope you will enjoy it if/when it is finalized.

    PE
     
  2. Alessandro Serrao

    Alessandro Serrao Member

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    Sodium carbonate?
    As per Agfa recommendation...
     
  3. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Thanks, PE!
     
  4. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Great news Ron. Congratulations, and thanks for all the hard work. Keep us posted on how and when it will be available.

    Lee
     
  5. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

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    Quite nice! Would this fix have the same effects if diluted?
     
  6. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    Can't wait to try it !
     
  7. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    it gets better?

    I use your published to date superfix formula, and I am very happy with it.

    I think back on all of the time when I was younger, spent sloshing films around in KodaFix for 10 minutes, rinse, HCA, long wash, photoflo, and then hang to dry over night. I would have been home from the high school darkroom in time for dinner a lot more often.

    Now I find that I get home from work with the kids in tow a few minutes after 5. If the films were loaded into tanks before leaving the house in the morning. I can develop, water rinse, superfix for two or three minuites, then wash ala a 3 rinse and dump Ilford routine, final rinse, and hang to dry before it is time for dinner. If I turn the heat on in the film drying cabinet then I can even be printing the just processed images by 6:30.
     
  8. CBG

    CBG Member

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    Just a quick note to say thanks!!!

    C
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    You are all welcome. The data sheets if/when it is produced will have all of the data.

    The use of Sodium Carbonate to formulate an alkaline fix for greater swell is well known. That was the intent of Grant's comments. TF-3 and TF-4 use another method, and I use yet another.

    PE
     
  10. NormanV

    NormanV Member

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    I don't understand this post. I use Hypam at 1:4, fix for two minutes and wash using Ilfords inversion method. What can be quicker than that?
     
  11. NormanV

    NormanV Member

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    I use the fixing time to wash tanks and spirals. This has to be done anyway so why worry about a few extra seconds in the fix?
     
  12. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Extra minutes for that matter, fix and wash. As well as a PhotoFlo
    rinse to prepare I've also some clean up and shelving to do. The
    three stage Ilford wash sequence is done in a leasurely manor.

    The determining factors are volume and the established work
    flow. In the 50s I adopted rapid fix because of the volume of
    prints I was turning out; scores at any one session. Now my
    volume is low. Even my fix is the old slow sodium form.

    Has to do with different strokes for different ... . A one
    size fits all approach just won't cut in the darkroom.
    I and yourself are proof of that. Dan
     
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I clean my tanks and reels after using the Photo Flo. So, the fix and wash times do not enter into the cleanup as it has to be done after the final rinse.

    PE
     
  14. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    I'm thrilled that someone is doing R&D with silver-based photography!

    There's an APUGer who I have been in contact with who can't find anyone to teach her film and darkroom processing. I'd teach her what I know, but we live hundreds of miles apart. She's doing her best tho', but it makes me sad that everywhere she turns, no one will teach her.
     
  15. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    Jim, you might let us know where she is and then if a member is interested in helping they could make contact.

    Ron, this is great news indeed. Thank you so much for your many, many years of helping all of us. Please let us know when it is available so we can all support you.

    Jim
     
  16. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Well, this is rather concentrated, at 1:4. IDK about you but I can do better and I can reduce wash times!

    Have fun with your process. I think mine is shorter and will use less water.

    PE
     
  17. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Superfix sounds like a valuable contribution. Note from the discussion above: hardener = slower fixing and harder washing.
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Ron, if you manage to get this product in the ball park cost wise (less expensive than TF-4), then I'll support it all the way. If I can save water by adding some to my fixer cost, then i think the added expense will 'come out in the wash' so to speak :D
    Great work, you're one of my heroes for sure!
    - Thomas
     
  19. Matthew Gorringe

    Matthew Gorringe Member

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    Thanks for letting us know Ron,
    would this "superfix" be equally useable with FB papers as with films?
     
  20. Photo Engineer

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    Matt;

    This fixer will work with RC, FB and with film at the proper dilutions and wash times.

    PE
     
  21. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council

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    Launch date in 2008? 2009?

    Murray
     
  22. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    PE, how does the dilution and fixing capacity measure up against current fixers?

    Also will it work with conventional acidic Stop Baths?

    Good luck with the product, it’s always a difficult and nervous time when you let your "baby" out into the big bad world for others to evaluate

    Martin
     
  23. seawolf66

    seawolf66 Member

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    P.E. please advise us when its ready I am all for save-ing water and etc, Lauren
     
  24. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Martin;

    It compares well with existing fixers but exact comparison depends on the specific fixer and dilution ratio. It works with acid stops or with plain water stops.

    PE
     
  25. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    PE, thanks

    There is nothing here but good news.

    Now, you don't hear Analogue Photographers say that very often :D

    Martin