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Thread: Cloudy silver bath, is it usable?

  1. #1

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    Question Cloudy silver bath, is it usable?

    Hey guys,

    I just mixed my wet plate chemicals today, and I'm somewhat impatient to go try and take some photos.

    I was given a silver tank by a fellow wet plate photographer, which was about half full with the silver bath. I started the process of replenishing it by filtering out all the gunk, and then when I added more distilled water so there would be enough volume, It turned a cloudy green color. I've read that this is normal, and is a result of forcing the iodides and bromides out of the solution. What I'm not clear on is whether I can use it in this state (after adding more silver of course). Bostick & Sullivan's instructions don't mention anything about having to let it clear, but one website I found said he lets it clear before adding more silver. Is that something I have to do?

    Thanks,
    Ethan

  2. #2
    Foamer
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    Re: Cloudy silver bath, is it usable?

    Your water wasn't pure would be my guess. Filter it again.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  3. #3

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    Re: Cloudy silver bath, is it usable?

    I've filtered the bath several times since adding the water, but the color remains.

    The distilled water I used was just from walmart, is it better to get it from a scientific supply store or something?

  4. #4

    Re: Cloudy silver bath, is it usable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethan View Post
    Hey guys,

    I just mixed my wet plate chemicals today, and I'm somewhat impatient to go try and take some photos.

    I was given a silver tank by a fellow wet plate photographer, which was about half full with the silver bath. I started the process of replenishing it by filtering out all the gunk, and then when I added more distilled water so there would be enough volume, It turned a cloudy green color. I've read that this is normal, and is a result of forcing the iodides and bromides out of the solution. What I'm not clear on is whether I can use it in this state (after adding more silver of course). Bostick & Sullivan's instructions don't mention anything about having to let it clear, but one website I found said he lets it clear before adding more silver. Is that something I have to do?

    Thanks,
    Ethan
    Ethan,
    When you added more AgNO3, did you measure the specific gravity of the bath to get it adjusted to the correct SG? Do you have a hydrometer to make these measurements? Did you measure the SG of the bath you were given before doing anything to it? I'd be cautious in using someone else's used silver bath without knowing how well used it was, how it had been maintained, and what its condition was before you started adding water/silver to it.

  5. #5

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    Re: Cloudy silver bath, is it usable?

    could it have been caused by not having enough silver in the mixture? I filtered it several times, but that only reduced the cloudiness. As soon as I added more silver nitrate it cleared up completely.

  6. #6

    Re: Cloudy silver bath, is it usable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethan View Post
    I've filtered the bath several times since adding the water, but the color remains.

    The distilled water I used was just from walmart, is it better to get it from a scientific supply store or something?
    Can we see a photo of it in its current condition, please?
    There's probably nothing wrong with the distilled water you bought, as long as its actually distilled, and not just "demineralized" water. Read the label carefully. Does it say anything about "steam distilled"?

  7. #7

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    Re: Cloudy silver bath, is it usable?

    Quote Originally Posted by paulbarden View Post
    Ethan,
    When you added more AgNO3, did you measure the specific gravity of the bath to get it adjusted to the correct SG? Do you have a hydrometer to make these measurements? Did you measure the SG of the bath you were given before doing anything to it? I'd be cautious in using someone else's used silver bath without knowing how well used it was, how it had been maintained, and what its condition was before you started adding water/silver to it.
    It was at 1.03 (if I was reading the scale correctly) By the time I got the specific gravity to 1.074, which is what the friend who gave me the tank said to use, the cloudiness had completely disappeared, without any more filtering.

  8. #8

    Re: Cloudy silver bath, is it usable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethan View Post
    could it have been caused by not having enough silver in the mixture? I filtered it several times, but that only reduced the cloudiness. As soon as I added more silver nitrate it cleared up completely.
    Yes, the cloudiness is almost certainly the result of too little AgNO3 in the bath to reach equilibrium.

  9. #9

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    Re: Cloudy silver bath, is it usable?

    said vapor distilled. In its current condition it's completely clear, so I put it back in the tank. I tried filtering it many times to clear, and got it to just a yellowish tinge of cloudiness, and then I added more silver nitrate to get the specific gravity correct. as soon as I did that, it cleared up completely.

  10. #10

    Re: Cloudy silver bath, is it usable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethan View Post
    It was at 1.03 (if I was reading the scale correctly) By the time I got the specific gravity to 1.074, which is what the friend who gave me the tank said to use, the cloudiness had completely disappeared, without any more filtering.
    OK, that's great! I'm glad you are using the right tools to make correct adjustments. Well done.
    You don't need to filter anymore. If the bath reads 1.074, then you are good to start making plates. That is, as long as the bath you were given had already been used: a virgin silver bath should be "excited" by the addition of iodides/bromides before it will make good plates.

    Do you have a book to refer to? The B&S kit instructions are not sufficient for anything more than getting you started.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethan View Post
    said vapor distilled. In its current condition it's completely clear, so I put it back in the tank. I tried filtering it many times to clear, and got it to just a yellowish tinge of cloudiness, and then I added more silver nitrate to get the specific gravity correct. as soon as I did that, it cleared up completely.
    Excellent. Just be sure to avoid buying water that is labeled "De-mineralized", which isn't what you want.

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