environmental storage conditions. You can make them last 100 years or more only if you keep them safe from physical damage caused due to inappropriate or fluctuating temperature, humidity, and light or x-rays exposure.
5 Environmental Conditions for Optical Discs You Should Take Care Of
With proper storage conditions, you can avoid CD delamination or warping. Keeping certain environmental factors under control can significantly affect the CDs’ quality and lifetime.
For CDs and DVDs to last longer, you must keep them within the range of recommended temperature (standard) values. It is advised to keep discs in a cooler environment – lower than 23 degrees Celsius or 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Try not to exceed 25 degrees Celsius or 77 degrees Fahrenheit but you can only for a shorter period. Moreover, you must never expose your optical disks to 32 degrees Celsius or 90 degrees Fahrenheit. One of the best practices is to offer your discs uninterrupted freezing storage.
As per ISO Standard 18925-2002:
⦁ For longevity, the temperature must not drop below -10 degrees Celsius or 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
⦁ Temperature fluctuation of 2-3 degrees within 24 hrs is tolerable.
⦁ If your CDs are placed below 12 degrees Celsius, use special wrapping to save discs from the damages caused due to condensation.
⦁ A frequent or continuous freezing and thawing results in harmful stresses to the disc.
⦁ Gradual acclimation is the key to avoiding delamination. Always warm your discs slowly once you have removed them from the cold storage.
*You can check the temperature with plenty of different monitoring devices.
Relative Humidity (RH)
Storing your discs in extremely dry conditions can speed up the CD delamination. As per the ISO recommended range, the values must be between 20% and 50% to ensure an optimal environment – never below 5% RH and consistently above 10% at the least because:
⦁ Polycarbonate substrates are capable of absorbing moisture present nearby.
⦁ It initiates the oxidation of the reflective layer.
The fluctuation in humidity %age should not be more than 10% within 24 hours. And remember, the drier the CD, the better the longevity!
X-rays, Magnetism, and Microwaves
Magnetism and X-rays cannot negatively impact the CDs or DVDs’ longevity or quality in any possible way. Although, microwaves have the potential to damage optical discs. Why? Because CD has metals in its structure.
⦁ UV Rays and Direct Sunlight Exposure
Placing your optical discs in direct contact with sunlight, UV, infrared, or fluorescent light for prolonged periods can severely damage their quality. If the light is of ambient intensity, you cannot expect drastic effects. On the contrary, exposure to high intensity will degrade polycarbonate substrate without any evidence of material damage. Stashing your record of CDs in the dark is your best option!
In coloured R discs with a dark label or printing, sunlight is the primary cause of deterioration of the dye affecting its transparency and ultimately decreasing the readability. For prevention of heat buildup, keep the disc in a cooler environment, saving it from direct sunlight exposure.
RW and RAM discs are less prone to the damage caused by the light as they are covered with a film that is not sensitive to the light. But, they can surely get damaged by the heat released from the light sources (intense laser beam) and face disc errors or a total failure.
Direct exposure to strong or harsh organic solvents leads to the destruction of the disk as they carry the power to dissolve the plastic (polycarbonate). Beware of the following substances as their damages are usually beyond repair, making your CDs unplayable:
⦁ Oxides of nitrogen
⦁ Acidic gases
For cleaning, mild solvents are advised, including isopropyl alcohol and methanol.
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