Storing chemicals in aluminum?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by hdeyong, May 26, 2012.

  1. hdeyong

    hdeyong Member

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    One of my favourite brands of coffee, (Illy), which is a once in a while treat because of it's price, comes in a well-made aluminum can which has a screw-on lid with a plastic liner. The can itself has no plastic liner, but seems to be coated with something, probably to avoid the coffee from developing (no pun intended), a metallic taste. It is absolutely air and light tight.
    Does anybody have experience with storing chemicals in aluminium? Could there be a reaction?
    I've been reading this site on and off for a bit, and just subscribed because it's great to read about photography and its processes instead of electronic bits and software programs. And, the members are friendly and helpful.
     
  2. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    There could be a bad reaction from using aluminium. I know if you use it in cooking, certain ingredients are effected and change color etc. The same ingredients wouldn't change if using stainless steel. The coffee that I use had been using plastic and has now switched to a metal lined cans. I was thinking the same thing as you. Then I remembered my days as a Chef! :confused:
     
  3. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Not a good idea as aluminum is a very reactive metal. Even if it is coated as you believe any imperfections in the coating render it useless.
     
  4. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I look at it like this: Photographic chemicals are specifically designed to react with metal.

    Thus, keeping your valuable chemistry in metal containers would create suboptimal storage conditions, at best.

    Would it not?
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    use your coffee tins for nuts, bolts, tools, soil, plants, paintbrush cleaning tank &c
    but don't use them for photochemistry.
    aluminum will do its ionic transfer thingy and react with your developer and fixer.
    i think it is reinhold ( here on apug )who uses aluminum foil to plate out the silver
    from his spent fixer.
     
  6. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Member

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    Dark brown glass with good plastic caps. Use glass marbles to displace air... careful easing them in until there's a layer of marbles on the bottom.
     
  7. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Aluminum dissolves in alkalies. The reaction is very rapid above pH 12, and slower at lower basic pH levels, evolving hydrogen and usually an aluminum oxide crud that contaminates the solution. Developers and basic fixers are a definite no-no.
     
  8. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I had a tin of Illy pods for espresso. It came free with the machine. It was a VERY poor substitute for fresh roasted and freshly ground beans. Nice enough can, but I wouldn't use it for chemicals or recommend the coffee.
     
  9. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Use the coffee to develop your film.

    Throw the can away.

    :wink: :wink: :wink:
     
  10. hdeyong

    hdeyong Member

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    It looks like a consensus to me. Thanks for the responses, I'll use the cans in the shop for something.
     
  11. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Mostly I use 16x20 stainless trays in an eight foot stainless sink. Two of those is a lot of fixer, so I stack them and put a lid on the top one for storage. Normally I use the darkroom several times a week, but last fall I went three months without printing. When I opened up the ss trays they were a mess of stain and corrosion. Even stainless can be a bad place to store some photo chemicals.

    John Powers
     
  12. hrst

    hrst Member

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    AISI 304 stainless steel (typically used in stainless kitchen sinks) is recommended only for short temporary contact with most photochemicals. Some products sold as "stainless steel" may be even worse.

    AISI 316 is the way to go for longer contact, and even that is not perfect. Titanium works if it has to be metal, but it is quite expensive. There are also some highly corrosion resistant nickel alloys (Hastelloy) that work for long-time contact.

    Not all plastics are good, either. Polyethylene (PE) can sustain practically all photochemistry very well for long times, but it has some air permeability. PET should be preferred for long-term storage of air-sensitive chemicals such as developer, although PET may be degraded by some chemicals.
     
  13. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    You want to store your chemicals in a light resistant non-reactive vessel. Glass, and HDPE is good.
     
  14. hrst

    hrst Member

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    It doesn't have to be light resistant unless stored in direct sunlight or really strong illumination for long times.

    HDPE is widely used but has some permeability to air. It is good but not perfect.
     
  15. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    HDPE is considered poor for developers but good for other solutions. Best for developers is PET and PVC.
     
  16. hrst

    hrst Member

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    I'm stating this over and over again but here it comes again:

    Store your developers in used PET beverage bottles. Wash well before using, and mark well to avoid any accidental consumption...

    The key point here is a really airtight cap and a possibility to squeeze the bottle so that all the air comes out. Then, tighten the cap to keep the bottle in the squeezed form.

    Using transparent bottles allows you to easily evaluate for any discoloration or gunk in solution without pouring it out. Just don't store in direct sunlight or near a window. A cool place is better than warm. It would be best to have a refrigerator for chemicals, set at about 10-15 deg C to slow down any reactions without having a risk of precipitation that might happen with some photochemistry if you are at a typical refrigerator temperature of around 4 deg C.