regarding SSS, restoration experts within the ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collections) have found that what was thought to be oxide binder break down is in reality back coat binder break down with the contamination transferring to the oxide of the next layer.
The back coating was cleaned or removed and the tapes played fine.
If you are trying to retrieve a tape with SSS and dont want to do the baking routine, try cleaning the back coating. Be careful not to use solvent that will also dissolve the oxide binder.. Do Not tholulene or Mek are basic solvents used in mixing the oxide binders.
There is ongoing study on this finding........... I'll keep you informed
d nelson ward
Thanks for your input. I'm familiar with the experiments by ARSC
Before baking was found to be the best remedy for SSS there were many methods tried before 3M patented baking with convection ovens.
Baths in high grade alcohol and other solvents was tried among other things. And while that would frequently strip off backcoating the primary effect it had was to remove moisture from the tape, which had a similar temporary drying effect like baking. But in the end baking was found to be the most complete and safest method for temporarily restoring afflicted tapes for transfer to a stable medium.
Make no mistake, true Sticky-Shed Syndrome involves hydrolysis (moisture absorption) of the polyurethane binder, which binds the pigment (oxide) together and holds it to the plastic film. This causes the oxide side of the tape to swell. Whatever effect the backcoating has on the oxide, it would not have that effect if the tape did not have an unstable binder in the first place.
The binder problem was fixed by 1995 for all backcoated tapes and some brands were fixed as early as 1992. Some tapes without backcoating also suffered from SSS
The ARSC has some problems with its methodology and terminology.
There are several ways different tapes can breakdown, but there is only one Sticky-Shed Syndrome as we’re talking about here.