Why Amber bottles?

Jerry W

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I'm getting back into darkroom work after a 40 year absence - not much changed although digital sure made used darkroom equipment more affordable!

Why not just use clear bottles to store chemicals as long as they are stored in a dark area? Thanks for info.
 

CW Jones

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I store my chemicals in cherry seltzer bottles...... $3 for 5 of them haha. I take them out of the cabinet and put them on the table and then pour them into the tank in order. no adverse effect at all. nothing I have seen at least....
 

christopher walrath

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I personally store my mixed chems in brown plastic bottles. If I have cracked the seal on stock chems I usually pour the rest into a brown glass jar and then add a marble or two to bring the level to the top.
 

Dwig

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Why not just use clear bottles to store chemicals as long as they are stored in a dark area?

The specification for "brown bottles" applies to glass bottles only and has absolutely nothing to do with blocking light from striking the chemicals.

Glass, when made purely from silicon, is far from clear. To make it clear, other chemicals are added to create a blend. Some of the added chemicals, particularily lead (think, lead crystal -- lead is what makes the glass beautifully clear) can leach out and affect the chemicals. Medicines and lab chemicals are best stored in non-reactive glasses. Such glass is naturally an ugly hue so additional brown dye, safely inert, is added to make a uniform brown.

Plastic bottles don't need the brown, but tradition is what tradition is. Most plastics do absorb some of the chemicals they store so you should never use a bottle that has ever contained anything that would, in trace form, harm the chemicals you put into them. A used household bleach or vinegar bottle will destroy developers but is reasonably safe, if well washed, for storing stop baths or fixers (both being acidic and vinegar actually being the most common chemical for stop, albeit is a more concentrated form, and a common component of some fixers).

Most plastics also breath. Thin disposable PE bottles used for bottled water and such often breath too much to safely store developers and other chemicals that age rapidly when exposed to oxygen. The bottle sold for photo chemicals generally have thick walls.
 

df3photo

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I think its the same deal with brown beer bottles... blocks out harmful light rays and helps keep it longer... you know, so it doesnt get skunked...
 

Actor

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Why not just use clear bottles to store chemicals as long as they are stored in a dark area?

The specification for "brown bottles" applies to glass bottles only and has absolutely nothing to do with blocking light from striking the chemicals.

Glass, when made purely from silicon, is far from clear. To make it clear, other chemicals are added to create a blend. Some of the added chemicals, particularily lead (think, lead crystal -- lead is what makes the glass beautifully clear) can leach out and affect the chemicals. Medicines and lab chemicals are best stored in non-reactive glasses. Such glass is naturally an ugly hue so additional brown dye, safely inert, is added to make a uniform brown.

Plastic bottles don't need the brown, but tradition is what tradition is. Most plastics do absorb some of the chemicals they store so you should never use a bottle that has ever contained anything that would, in trace form, harm the chemicals you put into them. A used household bleach or vinegar bottle will destroy developers but is reasonably safe, if well washed, for storing stop baths or fixers (both being acidic and vinegar actually being the most common chemical for stop, albeit is a more concentrated form, and a common component of some fixers).

Most plastics also breath. Thin disposable PE bottles used for bottled water and such often breath too much to safely store developers and other chemicals that age rapidly when exposed to oxygen. The bottle sold for photo chemicals generally have thick walls.

This particular post has been the object of some discussions with my friends both on and off the web. Some of the points you make, or seem to make, have been debated with no clear consensus.

The specification for "brown bottles" applies to glass bottles only and has absolutely nothing to do with blocking light from striking the chemicals.
Without specifically saying so this seems to imply that there is no need to protect chemicals from light. No one seems to have a definitive answer to this. The consensus seems to be that developers should definitely be kept out of light but that other chemicals are probably OK. I have noted that D-76 and Dektol powders are delivered in light tight bags, implying sensitivity to light even in powered form, but that T-Max and HC-110 are sold in translucent bottles, suggesting reduced sensitivity to light in liquid form.

Glass, when made purely from silicon, is far from clear. To make it clear, other chemicals are added to create a blend. Some of the added chemicals, particularily lead (think, lead crystal -- lead is what makes the glass beautifully clear) can leach out and affect the chemicals.
Quite a bit of skepticism on this one. Kodak says D-76 will last six months if kept from oxygen. The consensus is that that's not long enough for leaching to have a noticeable effect.

Most plastics also breath. Thin disposable PE bottles used for bottled water and such often breath too much to safely store developers and other chemicals that age rapidly when exposed to oxygen. The bottle sold for photo chemicals generally have thick walls.
One person claims that even bottles sold for photo chemicals do not have walls thick enough to protect developers from oxygenation, insisting that glass is the preferred container.
 

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