The vinegar syndrome or acetic acid syndrome

Essig-SyndromIt’s every 8mm film fan’s nightmare: opening the film box and smelling vinegar, sets alarm bells ringing. This can only mean vinegar syndrome – a fatal diagnosis!

How does vinegar syndrome develop?

There are two different types of 8mm films: polyethylene terephthalate-based polyester film and cellulose acetate-based acetate film. The former is less susceptible to chemical changes and more tear-resistant and was preferred over time as a more stable material. However, many older 8mm films in particular were still recorded on acetate strips. High temperatures or humidity cause chemical reactions in these films: The acetyl groups detach from the cellulose chain and react with the water to form acetic acid. The film material literally shrinks during this process, by up to ten percent. It becomes brittle and begins to smell of vinegar: The vinegar syndrome makes its presence felt.

How can vinegar syndrome be prevented?

This chemical reaction cannot be prevented completely, as it is a natural process. But it can be delayed by storing the films correctly and keeping the rolls away from metals, heat and moisture.

How do you get rid of vinegar syndrome?

If you have diagnosed your films with vinegar syndrome, you should take action immediately. Isolate the affected film from the others and store it separately, otherwise it can infect your other films! The gases produced during decomposition can start the decomposition process in your “healthy” reels.
affected reels can be treated with a molecular sieve. These are small packets that draw the moisture out of the film rolls. This will not cure the syndrome, but will slow down further reaction. Molecular sieves can also be used on healthy films to protect them from the vinegar syndrome.

Prevent and save memories with MEDIAFIX

Even if you store your cine films in the best possible way – they do not last forever. Even minor mistakes in storage can cause lasting damage. Act today and save your precious memories before the vinegar syndrome strikes and your recordings are lost forever. Have your 8mm films digitised – at MEDIAFIX with best-price-guarantee!

Do you have any questions?  Our friendly customer service will be happy to advise you in a personal conversation.

Simply call 020 3904438-0

Our phone hours are:

Mon-Fri 10.00 a.m. - 3.00 p.m.