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Solving the Sticky Shed Problem in Magnetic Recording Tapes: New Laboratory Research and Analysis Provides a Safe and Effective Remedy

The goal is to make available to AES’s members new research of its author and a leading analytical laboratory concerning: a) the primary causes and principal source of sticky shed material found on magnetic tapes; b) the unnecessary damage which baking tapes causes; and c) the development of a new, safe and effective process which restores contaminated tapes to their originally anticipated life span and allows repeated, trouble-free playbacks with excellent sonic performance. The methods used were: a) chemical analysis of tapes’ composition with and without sticky shed, b) electron microscope imaging of contaminated and remediated tapes and c) stickion-friction measurements of tapes without back coating and free of sticky shed, with back coating and sticky shed, and after restoration. The key findings are: a) head and hydrolysis cause sticky shed, b) back coating is the source of most of the sticky shed, c) baking causes degraded playback and permanent damage, and d) correct removal of back coating restores most problem tapes to long life allowing many trouble-free playbacks providing excellent sonic performance.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society