Topic: Polymers

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🔗 Starlite

🔗 Brands 🔗 Chemistry 🔗 Invention 🔗 Polymers

Starlite is an intumescent material claimed to be able to withstand and insulate from extreme heat. It was invented by British amateur chemist and hairdresser Maurice Ward (1933-2011) during the 1970s and 1980s, and received significant publicity after coverage of the material aired in 1990 on the BBC science and technology show Tomorrow's World. The name Starlite was coined by Ward's granddaughter Kimberly.

The American company Thermashield, LLC claims to have acquired the rights to Starlite in 2013 and replicated it. It is the only company to have itself publicly demonstrated the technology and have samples tested by third parties.

Discussed on

🔗 Indian Ocean garbage patch

🔗 Oceans 🔗 Polymers

The Indian Ocean garbage patch, discovered in 2010, is a gyre of marine litter suspended in the upper water column of the central Indian Ocean, specifically the Indian Ocean Gyre, one of the five major oceanic gyres. The patch does not appear as a continuous debris field. As with other patches in each of the five oceanic gyres, the plastics in it break down to ever smaller particles, and to constituent polymers. As with the other patches, the field constitutes an elevated level of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge, and other debris; primarily particles that are invisible to the naked eye. The concentration of particle debris has been estimated to be approximately 10,000 particles per square kilometer.

A similar patch of floating plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean, the Great Pacific garbage patch, was predicted in 1985, and discovered in 1997 by Charles J. Moore as he passed through the North Pacific Gyre on his return from the Transpacific Yacht Race. The North Atlantic garbage patch was discovered in 2010.

Discussed on

🔗 Retrobright

🔗 Chemistry 🔗 Polymers

Retrobright refers to H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) based processes used to remove yellowing from ABS plastics. The usage has also expanded to other retro restoration applications, such as classic and collectible sneaker restoration, where it is referred to by collectors as "sole sauce".

Yellowing in ABS plastic occurs when it is exposed to UV light or excessive heat, which causes photo-oxidation of polymers that breaks polymer chains and causes the plastic to yellow and become brittle.

One method of reversing the yellowed discoloration coined the term (stylized as retr0bright or Retrobrite) was first discovered in 2007 in a German retrocomputing forum, before spreading to an English blog where it was further detailed. The process has been continually refined since.

The long-term effectiveness of these techniques is questioned. Some have discovered the yellowing reappears, and there are concerns that the process weakens and only bleaches the already damaged plastic.