U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | glyoxal v. formaldehyde

glyoxal v. formaldehyde

On Sun, 6 Apr 2008, Christina Z. Anderson wrote:

I decided this fall/winter to size a bunch of paper a la formaldehyde, because I really wanted to compare the two (glut and formalin) side by side. Hey, formaldehyde works great. I sized my paper with gelatin inside, then went out into my garage and hardened in a bath of 100ml formalin to a gallon water. Hung all my papers to dry out there. When fairly dry, I brought all the sheets inside the house and hung them in the bathroom. I was not prepared for what happened.

My garage was about 40 or so degrees. My bathroom was 70. The formalin outgassed horribly, so bad that I had to slam shut the bathroom door and not enter because my eyes stung horribly. Glut does NOT outgas at that low temp. Another plus for glut!
Some years ago I did the same experiment (which if memory serves I described here & in Post-Factory), except formaldehyde v. glyoxal... I'd hardened the gelatin-sized papers outdoors on a perfect summer day & brought them inside after they'd completely dried on the line outdoors.

The outgassing from the formaldehyde was so strong -- my eyes & throat burned so badly -- I had to stow the paper elsewhere for another couple of days. That BTW was an unexpected discovery -- my intent had been to compare the prints from each hardener.

I found no difference in the prints, so obviously there was no point in putting up with the formaldehyde, especially since you can hardly get it around here. (I think it's used in making meth or something of the sort so it's been restricted to undertakers & prescriptions for athlete's foot,.)

This was well before glut was introduced to the list, but, as I could tolerate the glyoxal (never a problem), & there were tales of glut sensitivity, I decided to quit while I was ahead.