Ilford ID-11 not disolving well
I'm trying to get back into processing b&w 4x5 film, since no commercial place around here does sheet film anymore.
When mixing up a batch of Ilford ID-11 I found that no matter how vigorously I shook it in a closed bottle, I couldn't get the powder to go completely into solution. I used tap water at 104 F degrees, as per instructions.
I would guess that about 1/2 of it did mix in eventually, but even that required a lot of shaking. Clumps are still floating around, and there is a pile of powder in the bottom of the glass gallon jug after about 45 minutes of severe agitation (and aggravation on my part).
What should I do?
hmm...I do not have any ID-11 or D-76 on hand, but from memory, the instructions for D-76 (effectively the same exact stuff as ID-11) say to use something like 126 F to 136 F water, I believe. Also, did you use the correct volume of water so that your solution does not become saturated? I have pulled off D-76 mixing at 115 F even though it was a little difficult, but not 104 F. Also, you should stir it into solution in an open container, not shake a bottle to mix it.
Last edited by 2F/2F; 03-20-2009 at 06:23 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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You are putting the chemical in the container far too quickly. It should be poured in slowly and with constant stirring, not put in a bottle and shaken up like a James Bond martini.
I use a plastic bucket, used solely for mixing developer, and a plastic stirrer. Get a smooth circular stiring motion going with the stirrer head under water, not splashing around a whole lot (incorporates unwanted air in the solution); slowly pour the chemistry in a bit at a time; stir until that is dissolved. Keep repeating.
BTW: Bond is wrong; a martini should be stirred gently. Shaking "bruises" the gin--oops, forgot. He drinks vodka martinis. Oh, well, that's savage, so his martinis could be done in a cement mixer and it would not make any difference--although the cement might add some needed flavor..
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
Just mixed up a batch of D-76 yesterday evening. Kodak calls for 3L of water at 90 to 100 deg. F. to start, then to top off to the final volume of 3.8L with cool water after the powder is dissolved. Ilford calls for 75% of the total volume to be water at 104 deg. F to start, then topping off to the final volume after the powders are dissolved. Not a whole lot of difference there. Here's a quote from Ilford's fact sheet on ID-11, which you can find here:
"To prepare stock developer, dissolve the contents
of part A (the smaller bag) in about three-quarters
of the total solution volume (see carton) of warm
water at about 40ºC/104ºF. Stir until most of the
part A powder has dissolved, continue to stir while
gradually adding the contents of Part B (the larger
bag). Keep stirring until no more powder dissolves.
NB, it is normal for a few grains of powder to
remain undissolved. Add cold water to make up to
the final volume (see carton) and stir. Allow to cool
to working temperature, 20–24ºC (68–75ºF)."
While it's not specifically mentioned, you should gradually add the contents of the "A" package, while stirring, and not dumping it into the water. At least that's the way I did it the last time I mixed up ID-11 and it worked fine that way. Shaking to mix is a really bad idea in any case, as John suggested. Not only has it been ineffective in your case, to say nothing of exhausting; the practice dissolves oxygen into the mix, shortening the developer's shelf life.
Indeed: stir, do not shake.
ID-11 comes in two sachets. Make sure the first bag has dissolved before adding the second. I also use a bucket reserved for mixing developers only - and I have one of those Paterson stirring sticks with the flat bottom. I use 40-45C with no problems, 'tho I imagine 50-55 would do no harm at all and help it dissolve easier.
Put the ID-11 as it is now in an open-top glass container and zap it in the microwave to bring it up to 40-50C (be careful it does not get too hot) and try stirring it. Normally it takes about 5-10 minutes to dissolve completely. It may be a little cloudy but that will clear overnight.
Of course, you may be unhappy about putting developer in a food preparation device, in which case I can't off-hand think of another way to reheat it safely.
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I too use a closed bottle and shake/rock the bottle - I use a 5L bottle, so the initial 3.75L of water has plenty of room to churn and thoroughly mix
However, 2F/2F & Anscojohn are right, shaking it gets a lot more oxygen into the developer, so it won't last as long if you intend to store it.
I leave my developer to stand for at least a day before I need to use it, do a batch of films and pour the rest away (its not worth keeping and taking a risk the next time I have a batch to do)
Like 2F/2F, I mix my developer a little warmer (45C ~ 110F), as I find it mixes more easily.
Some batches do seem to mix more easily than others but cannot figure out why.
It is very important to get all of packet A dissolved before adding packet B.
I have never had my developer powder form clumps though, its always poured out of the packets in a fine powder and stayed as fine crystals in the water.
You need to break those clumps up if you want to get them to dissolve in a reasonable time frame
You have a few of choices :-
1) Break up the clumps - big lumps dissolve only slowly
2) Warm the developing solution a little more (stand your bottle in a bath of even warmer water - but not too hot - 50C max)
3) Keep going with moderate agitation, it will almost all eventually go into solution
4) Junk this batch and start with a fresh packet
5) All of (1), (2) & (3)
Thank you everyone for the advice. I will try warmer water on the next batch. I will also make sure packet A is completely mixed before adding any of packet B.
BTW I processed a dozen 4x5 sheets in the chunky developer solution and they turned out great (much to my surprise and relief). I did extend the development time a little just to be safe.
The clumps are gradually dissolving into the solution. I didn't consider the oxidation issue with shaking, but this batch will be used up by tomorrow with the backlog I have of film needing to be processed.
I am so glad I found APUG as a resource. Thanks again!
I`ve used both ID-11 and D-76 over the years and haven`t had any problems. However, I find D-76 more convenient due to it being a single mix and it seems to dissolve a bit more easily than ID-11. It doesn`t need the hot mixing cited on the Silverprint site either, water about 40*C works fine.
No direct experience with mixing ID-11 into solution but I have had success with hot water baths using near boiling water from a kitchen kettle, in a Paterson 2 litre jug surrounding a graduate. The result being the hot water forms a jacket most of the way up the small container.
One other thought: It's conceivable that impurities in your tap water, Reflexdoc, might be causing the developer to dissolve poorly. Commercial developers are designed with additives to make such problems unlikely, but the manufacturers can't test everybody's water, so it's possible that yours is outside the parameters used by Ilford. If so, your simplest solution is to use bottled water to mix up the developer. Another option would be to use another brand or type of developer -- perhaps Kodak's D-76 would dissolve more readily in your water. Any liquid developer will also obviously pose no problems. (OTOH, if your tap water has impurities bad enough to prevent complete mixing of a powdered developer, I wouldn't trust that tap water for much of anything!)