Mink Oil

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by TonyWright, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. TonyWright

    TonyWright Second Unit

    Jan 25, 2004
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    I read somewhere (can't remember where) that using Mink oil to treat the butyl rubber on your speakers can help extend their life. Has anyone tried this or any other treatments like it?

    Just curious...

  2. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

    Aug 3, 2000
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    I would ask the speaker manufacturer. And I bet, they say don't try it. [​IMG]
  3. Nan H

    Nan H Agent

    Jul 9, 2004
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    i've "heard" of using mink oil for foam surrounds on speakers so it keeps the surround from drying out and getting "foam rot" ...or something..... i have heard this from a few people although i've never read a report on it or have know of anybody actually doing this. as for butyl rubber surrounds, hmmm i'm not sure if it would work or not but there should be somebody here who could fill in better than i.

    i do remember bob carver saying that mink oil could be used on foam surrounds to help them from getting brittle. also i guess your environment could also play a role if you live somewhere very dry, it "could" dry out foam a little quicker than living in a very humid place (Seattle) [​IMG]

    well theres my 2 cents
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

    Jun 29, 2001
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    The foam rot in foam surrounds had to do with the specific chemical composition of the foam.

    Here's a bit more information regarding speaker rot for those who are interested.

    Foam surrounds, which have been around for 3 decades or so, are still used. Some individuals have reported rot or degradation while others haven't. To make it even seem more perplexing, given a particular speaker, some have discovered this degradation while others have not. This begs the questions how does it occur and why.

    There are two primary ways that rot can occur. First one has degradation that occurs as a result of exposure to UV and ozone. Secondly, degradation can also occur as a result of biological mechanisms. Essentially the foam becomes a source of food for a variety of microbes. With regards to the latter mechanism, storing your speakers in basement or somewhere that's cool and dry can actually exascerbate this problem.

    As to why this sometimes does and doesn't occur, the answer lies in the sort of materials the foam is constructed of. It turns out that foam that incorporates ester type compounds is enormously susceptible. Although this general information was generally known as far back as the 70's, ester based foams were still used as they are today. Occasionally we can blame the manufacturer of the speakers when they know what they're using. However, given that the price of the ester vs non-ester based surrounds are the same, or nearly so, often the manufacturer of the speaker who buys his drivers from a number of sources, is never told that these surrounds are frequently interchanged. Hence, unless specifications which include the nature of the foam surround are given to their suppliers, and unless the speaker manufacturer has a lab that can routinely analyze the foam for the presence of ester material, it can be a bit of a crap shoot.

    If your drivers use other sorts of materials such as polybutadiene, polyvinylchloride (PVC) modified polystyerenes, rubber or sythethic elastomer modified cloth surround, you're pretty much guaranteed that your surrounds won't fall apart. Of course, if you're the sort of person who cleans their surrounds with chemicals that can leach the plasticizers out, then you'll certainly find that they'll become brittle after time.

    Using mink oil probably won't affect your butyl surrounds but it will make them look nicer in much the same way that mink oil containing products are used on vinyl and leather upholstery in automobiles. I'm willing to bet you'll have a different set of speakers long before you ever have to worry about them falling apart.

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