Thursday, May 11, 2006

inner dork: plastic

Did you know...

Billiard balls were made from ivory however, because of their expense a U.S. inventor; John Wesley Hyatt was trying to find a low-cost alternative.
After many failures he made a mixture of nitrocellulose, camphor, and alcohol heated it so it could be molded and let it harden.
His discovery became known as celluloid. It was eventually used to make combs, toys and many other products.
Shellac, a secretion of an Asian beetle (who knew!) was used as a varnish for preserving wood. It was also a great electrical insulator.
When electricity came into its own there was more demand than the little Asian beetle could keep up with. Therefore, a chemist, Leo Baekeland began experimenting to produce synthetic shellac.
After three years of experimenting he heated phenol and formaldehyde to produce a liquid goo that when heated further turned into a hard translucent substance. It was plastic and Baekeland called it "Bakelite."
It wasn't long after its discovery in 1907 that Bakelite was used to make telephone handsets, radio, cabinets, rosary beads, automobile distributor caps, cooking pot handles and many others. It is still used today in buttons, costume jewelry, to handles, knife handles and many other items.

Celluloid was invented in 1869, yet Baekeland is considered the inventor of plastic. The reason? Celluloid is made from chemically treated cotton and other substances containing vegetable matter. Bakelite was produced by combining chemicals, no natural substances were used, thus making it the first 100% synthetic material.

Factoids:

The 1953 Corvette was the first car to have an all fiberglass body.

The "House of Tomorrow" premiered at Disneyland in 1957. The walls, roof, floors and furniture were all made of plastic. It was so strong that when it was torn down the wrecking crews had trouble demolishing it.

5 comments:

Old Man Crowder said...

My head is full now. Thanks for the info.

Would you believe I found your site by searching for "Plastic furniture"?

Jay said...

"Outer dork: Teflon."


In a DuPont laboratory back in 1938, Roy J. Plunkett was researching refrigeration gases. He had connected a cylinder of freon 1114, or tetrafluoroethylene, to his equipment, but nothing came out. Rather than throw the cylinder away, he weighed it and found that the actual weight exceeded the figure on the target weight. So he cut the cylinder in half and saw a white, waxy substance he later identified as a polymer of tetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), popularly known as the DuPont trademark Teflon®:. Had he not been wise enough to investigate what was in the cylinder, this Fluorocarbon resin might never have been discovered. The molecular structure of PTFE is based on a chain of carbon atoms, the same as all polymers. Unlike some other fluoropolymers, in PTFE this chain is completely surrounded by fluorine atoms. The bond between carbon and fluorine is very strong, and the fluorine atoms shield the vulnerable carbon chain. This unusual structure gives PTFE its unique properties. In addition to its extreme slipperiness, it is inert to almost every known chemical. On its 59th birthday, it is still listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the slipperiest material in the world, with the lowest coefficient of static and dynamic friction of any solid. This measurement is the equivalent to the surface of wet ice rubbing against wet ice.

Uses: the most common use for Teflon today is non-stick cookware. But did you know that it's used as a fabric protector for clothes, bedsheets, leather, upholstery, and carpets? It's also used on the outer surfaces of racing boats, wiper blades, nail polish, eyeglass lenses, automotive lubricants, the list goes on.


Factoid of the day: Party Girl is HOT!

Not-quite-so-factoid of the day: I may very well masturbate to Party Girl's next TNF picture. :)

Party Girl said...

Jay: back at ya, babydoll.

Jay said...

PG: You're going to masturbate to a picture of me?!?!

Party Girl said...

Jay: If I had one, absolutely.
Although, I do like the ones I have in my head, a little teaser of a picture would be nice. Or a non-teaser of a picture.

You know, from one tease to another.