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Early Causes for Biodegradation of PVA/PVC Tapes for Audio Recording

The degradation of magnetic tapes is one of the main threats to the survival of our collective audio heritage. Archives around the world, big and small, are all concerned with the same challenge, that of counteracting the natural decay of plastic compounds. This study investigates the biodegradation of poly(vinyl alcohol)/poly(vinyl chloride) (PVA/PVC) blends tapes, namely audio magnetic tapes, using the spectrophotometry (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The tapes (both sides) were studied in the light of their degradation in special conditions. The objective is to obtain more information regarding the polymer degradation of magnetic tapes for audio recording and how it affects the structural composition of the tapes. This study contributes to the long-term goal of building a structured knowledge base about diagnostic tools and recovery methods for magnetic tapes.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society