Film archivists have the option of storing film in a climate-controlled macroenvironment or in a microenvironment. This research evaluates the effectiveness of the latter to control the stability of cellulose triacetate base film in roll form. It does not consider other factors such as equipment cost, maintenance, labor expense, and accessibility. The use of vented cans to reduce the acidity of degraded film was not effective in controlling “vinegar syndrome.” The addition of buffered cardboard disks to adsorb acid is not recommended. Microenvironments in which the film was previously moisture-conditioned to a low relative humidity or the addition of desiccants such as molecular sieves or silica gel did retard further degradation. The improvement obtained with molecular sieves and silica gel was owing to both their moisture adsorbing and acid adsorbing properties. However, neither material was effective at reducing the acid level of already degraded film. Macroenvironments have the potential to be of much greater benefit for film stability than the microenvironments evaluated in this study. Microenvironments are of great value when it is not possible to obtain humidity control of the storage area.
Jean-Louis Bigourdan, Peter Z. Adelstein, James M. Reilly, "Use of Microenvironments for the Preservation of Cellulose Triacetate Photographic Film" in Journal of Imaging Science and Technology, 1998, pp 155 - 162, https://doi.org/10.2352/J.ImagingSci.Technol.1998.42.2.art00011