n.the tendency of material to deteriorate due to the essential instability or interaction among componentsSwartzburg 1994, 147Acidic ingredients within the books themselves, an inherent vice, have caused the decay. Over time the paper becomes brittle and, in some cases, disintegrates.Bennett 1994, 20There are two main contributors to the making of an acidic paper: one is airborne pollution and the other is “inherent vice,” i.e., the original materials composing the paper (chiefly lignin and alum-rosin sizing) are inherently poor quality.Paton 1998, 190The first step toward starting an audio preservation re-recording projectis determining which recordings are vulnerable to loss due to age, damage, or inherent vice.Tschabrun 2003, 318The paper upon which posters are printed is an inherent vice, namely a characteristic of the object that makes it likely to chemically degrade if professional conservators do not intervene. Political posters can be expected to become increasingly acidic and brittle, a chemical process that can be slowed, but not reversed.NEDCC 2015aIn this section, you will consider the basic materials that make up paper-based collections and the concept of “inherent vice.” This refers to deterioration caused by agents present in the materials themselves, as opposed to deterioration caused by external forces. These agents may be inherent in the raw materials, or they may be added as part of the manufacturing process.AKDNP 2018Not just the title of a Thomas Pynchon novel, the term “inherent vice” refers to an item’s low-quality materials that hasten its decay—a term that perfectly describes the properties of newspaper.
Nitrate film and highly acidic paper suffer inherent vice because they are chemically unstable. An object made of metal and leather suffers inherent vice because the leather causes the metal to corrode.