At Quality Record Pressings in Salina, Kan., the influx of orders for vinyl records has been so excellent the staff has become turning away requests since September. This resurgence in pvc pellet popularity blindsided Gary Salstrom, the company’s general manger. The company is merely 5yrs old, but Salstrom has been making records to get a living since 1979.
“I can’t inform you how surprised I am,” he says.
Listeners aren’t just demanding more records; they wish to tune in to more genres on vinyl. As most casual music consumers moved onto cassette tapes, compact discs, after which digital downloads during the last several decades, a tiny contingent of listeners obsessive about audio quality supported a modest marketplace for certain musical styles on vinyl, notably classic jazz and orchestral recordings.
Now, seemingly everything in the musical world is to get pressed as well. The Recording Industry Association of America reported that vinyl record sales in 2015 exceeded $400 million from the United states That figure is vinyl’s highest since 1988, plus it beat out revenue from ad-supported online music streaming, for example the free version of Spotify.
While old-school audiophiles plus a new wave of record collectors are supporting vinyl’s second coming, scientists are looking at the chemistry of materials that carry and also have carried sounds with their grooves with time. They hope that in doing so, they are going to boost their ability to create and preserve these records.
Eric B. Monroe, a chemist with the Library of Congress, is studying the composition of some of those materials, wax cylinders, to discover the way that they age and degrade. To aid with this, he is examining a story of litigation and skulduggery.
Although wax cylinders may seem like a primitive storage medium, they were a revelation at the time. Edison invented the phonograph in 1877 using cylinders wrapped in tinfoil, but he shelved the project to function in the lightbulb, in accordance with sources with the Library of Congress.
But Edison was lured back into the audio game after Alexander Graham Bell along with his Volta Laboratory had created wax cylinders. Working together with chemist Jonas Aylsworth, Edison soon designed a superior brown wax for recording cylinders.
“From a commercial viewpoint, the information is beautiful,” Monroe says. He started concentrating on this history project in September but, before that, was working at the specialty chemical firm Milliken & Co., giving him a unique industrial viewpoint in the material.
“It’s rather minimalist. It’s just adequate for what it must be,” he says. “It’s not overengineered.” There was clearly one looming trouble with the gorgeous brown wax, though: Edison and Aylsworth never patented it.
Enter Thomas H. MacDonald of American Graphophone Co., who basically paid people off to help him copy Edison’s recipe, Monroe says. MacDonald then declared a patent around the brown wax in 1898. Although the lawsuit didn’t come until after Edison and Aylsworth introduced a new and improved black wax.
To record sound into brown wax cylinders, every one had to be individually grooved having a cutting stylus. Nevertheless the black wax might be cast into grooved molds, permitting mass production of records.
Unfortunately for Edison and Aylsworth, the black wax was a direct chemical descendant of the brown wax that legally belonged to American Graphophone, so American Graphophone sued Edison’s National Phonograph Co. Fortunately for the defendants, Aylsworth’s lab notebooks showed that Team Edison had, in reality, developed the brown wax first. Companies eventually settled out from court.
Monroe has become capable to study legal depositions from your suit and Aylsworth’s notebooks due to the Thomas A. Edison Papers Project at Rutgers University, which is working to make more than 5 million pages of documents associated with Edison publicly accessible.
With such documents, Monroe is tracking how Aylsworth along with his colleagues developed waxes and gaining a greater comprehension of the decisions behind the materials’ chemical design. As an illustration, within an early experiment, Aylsworth crafted a soap using sodium hydroxide and industrial stearic acid. At that time, industrial-grade stearic acid was actually a roughly 1:1 combination of stearic acid and palmitic acid, two essential fatty acids that differ by two carbon atoms.
That early soap was “almost perfection,” Aylsworth remarked in their notebook. But after several days, the top showed indications of crystallization and records made with it started sounding scratchy. So Aylsworth added aluminum towards the mix and found the right blend of “the good, the bad, and the necessary” features of all of the ingredients, Monroe explains.
The combination of stearic acid and palmitic is soft, but a lot of this makes for any weak wax. Adding sodium stearate adds some toughness, but it’s also liable for the crystallization problem. The upvc compound prevents the sodium stearate from crystallizing whilst adding additional toughness.
Actually, this wax was a touch too tough for Aylsworth’s liking. To soften the wax, he added another fatty acid, oleic acid. But the majority of these cylinders started sweating when summertime rolled around-they exuded moisture trapped from the humid air-and were recalled. Aylsworth then swapped the oleic acid for the simple hydrocarbon wax, ceresin. Like oleic acid, it softened the wax. Unlike oleic acid, it added a significant waterproofing element.
Monroe has been performing chemical analyses for both collection pieces and his synthesized samples to guarantee the materials are similar and therefore the conclusions he draws from testing his materials are legit. For example, they can look into the organic content of the wax using techniques like mass spectrometry and identify the metals within a sample with X-ray fluorescence.
Monroe revealed the initial comes from these analyses recently with a conference hosted from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, or ARSC. Although his first two tries to make brown wax were too crystalline-his stearic acid was too pure and had no palmitic acid within it-he’s now making substances which can be almost identical to Edison’s.
His experiments also suggest that these metal soaps expand and contract a lot with changing temperatures. Institutions that preserve wax cylinders, such as universities and libraries, usually store their collections at about 10 °C. Instead of bringing the cylinders from cold storage directly to room temperature, which is the common current practice, preservationists should let the cylinders to warm gradually, Monroe says. This may minimize the anxiety around the wax and minimize the probability that it will fracture, he adds.
The similarity between your original brown wax and Monroe’s brown wax also implies that the fabric degrades very slowly, which can be great news for anyone for example Peter Alyea, Monroe’s colleague with the Library of Congress.
Alyea desires to recover the details held in the cylinders’ grooves without playing them. To do so he captures and analyzes microphotographs of the grooves, a strategy pioneered by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Soft wax cylinders were ideal for recording one-off sessions, Alyea says. Business folks could capture dictations using wax and did so up in the 1960s. Anthropologists also brought the wax to the field to record and preserve the voices and stories of vanishing native tribes.
“There are 10,000 cylinders with recordings of Native Americans within our collection,” Alyea says. “They’re basically invaluable.” Having those recordings captured in the material that appears to endure time-when stored and handled properly-might appear to be a stroke of fortune, but it’s not so surprising taking into consideration the material’s progenitor.
“Edison was the engineer’s engineer,” Alyea says. The modifications he and Aylsworth intended to their formulations always served a purpose: to produce their cylinders heartier, longer playing, or higher fidelity. These considerations and the corresponding advances in formulations resulted in his second-generation moldable black wax and in the end to Blue Amberol Records, which were cylinders made with blue celluloid plastic rather than wax.
But when these cylinders were so excellent, why did the record industry switch to flat platters? It’s much easier to store more flat records in less space, Alyea explains.
Emile Berliner, inventor of your gramophone, introduced disc-shaped gramophone records pressed in celluloid and hard rubber around 1890, says Bill Klinger. Klinger may be the chair of your Cylinder Subcommittee for ARSC along with encouraged the Library of Congress to get started on the metal soaps project Monroe is working on.
In 1895, Berliner introduced discs based on shellac, a resin secreted by female lac bugs, that will develop into a record industry staple for years. Berliner’s discs used a combination of shellac, clay and cotton fibers, plus some carbon black for color, Klinger says. Record makers manufactured countless discs applying this brittle and comparatively cheap material.
“Shellac records dominated the market from 1912 to 1952,” Klinger says. Several of these discs are now generally known as 78s for their playback speed of 78 revolutions-per-minute, give or take a few rpm.
PVC has enough structural fortitude to assist a groove and stand up to an archive needle.
Edison and Aylsworth also stepped up the chemistry of disc records having a material known as Condensite in 1912. “I assume that is by far the most impressive chemistry from the early recording industry,” Klinger says. “By comparison, the competing shellac technology was always crude.”
Klinger says Aylsworth spent years developing Condensite, a phenol-formaldehyde resin which was similar to Bakelite, which was recognized as the world’s first synthetic plastic with the American Chemical Society, C&EN’s publisher.
What set Condensite apart, though, was hexamethylenetetramine. Aylsworth added the compound to Condensite to prevent water vapor from forming throughout the high-temperature molding process, which deformed a disc’s surface, Klinger explains.
Edison was literally using a huge amount of Condensite each day in 1914, however the material never supplanted shellac, largely because Edison’s superior product came with a substantially higher price tag, Klinger says. Edison stopped producing records in 1929.
But once Columbia Records released vinyl long-playing records, or LPs, in 1948, shellac’s days from the music industry were numbered. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) records supply a quieter surface, store more music, and they are far less brittle than shellac discs, Klinger says.
Lon J. Mathias, a polymer chemist and professor emeritus on the University of Southern Mississippi, offers another reason why why vinyl arrived at dominate records. “It’s cheap, and it’s easily molded,” he says. Although he can’t talk with the actual composition of today’s vinyl, he does share some general insights in to the plastic.
PVC is usually amorphous, but from a happy accident in the free-radical-mediated reactions that build polymer chains from smaller subunits, the material is 10 to 20% crystalline, Mathias says. For that reason, PVC has enough structural fortitude to assist a groove and endure a record needle without compromising smoothness.
Without any additives, PVC is apparent-ish, Mathias says, so record vinyl needs something similar to carbon black allow it its famous black finish.
Finally, if Mathias was deciding on a polymer for records and funds was no object, he’d choose polyimides. These materials have better thermal stability than vinyl, which has been recognized to warp when left in cars on sunny days. Polyimides could also reproduce grooves better and give a more frictionless surface, Mathias adds.
But chemists continue to be tweaking and improving vinyl’s formulation, says Salstrom of Quality Record Pressings. He’s dealing with his vinyl supplier to discover a PVC composition that’s optimized for thicker, heavier records with deeper grooves to present listeners a sturdier, higher quality product. Although Salstrom might be amazed at the resurgence in vinyl, he’s not looking to give anyone any reasons to stop listening.
A soft brush usually can handle any dust that settles on a vinyl record. But how can listeners cope with more tenacious dirt and grime?
The Library of Congress shares a recipe for the cleaning solution of 2 mL of Dow Chemical’s Tergitol 15-S-7 in 4 L of deionized water. C&EN spoke with Paula Cameron, a technical service manager with Dow, to learn about the chemistry that assists the transparent pvc compound get into-and from-the groove.
Molecules in Tergitol 15-S-7 possess hydrophobic hydrocarbon chains that are between 11 and 15 carbon atoms long. The S means it’s a secondary alcohol, so there’s a hydroxyl jutting dexrpky05 the midsection from the hydrocarbon chain for connecting it to a hydrophilic chain of repeating ethylene oxide units.
Finally, the 7 is a measure of the amount of moles of ethylene oxide are in the surfactant. The higher the number, the greater water-soluble the compound is. Seven is squarely in water-soluble category, Cameron says. Furthermore, she adds, the surfactant doesn’t become viscous or gel-like when together with water.
The result is really a mild, fast-rinsing surfactant that can get out and in of grooves quickly, Cameron explains. The not so good news for vinyl audiophiles who may want to use this in the home is the fact Dow typically doesn’t sell surfactants right to consumers. Their potential customers are often companies who make cleaning products.Comments Off on UPVC Compound – Considering UPVC Compounds? Then Consult the Following Companies Site.