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Biodegradable Plastic Can't Take the Heat

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naperlou
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Blogger
Inappropriate materials
naperlou   12/19/2013 9:17:33 AM
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Bill, I grew up with small British sports cars (MG, Austin Healey, Triumph).  We often had problems with hoses and seals (among many other problems).  It turns out that the British were still using natural rubber and that it did not hold up as well as synthetic rubber.

Turbineman
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Gold
Re: Inappropriate materials
Turbineman   12/19/2013 10:53:34 AM
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I have a 2003 Ford F350 with 24,500 miles (I don't drive it much).  Several times a year, I have to hunt down and repair/replace wires that were chewed through by rodents.  Talking to my mechanic who had just finished replacing the HP fuel pump, he explained that the insulation used by Ford in that era was regarded by the critters as strawberry short cake.  Now when it's not driven, it has several baited traps under the hood.  So far they like peanut butter better than the insulation.

bigpaws
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Iron
Re: Inappropriate materials
bigpaws   12/19/2013 1:51:13 PM
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Natural rubber!?  Sounds intuitively obvious that that would be a bad idea nowadays.  Hindisght and all being 20/20 so to speak.

 

Cheers

 

 

naperlou
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Blogger
Re: Inappropriate materials
naperlou   12/19/2013 2:20:52 PM
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The main reason they used it was the colonial legacy.  They had plantations in southeast Asia from colonial times and still used them.  Henry Ford, in the late 1920s through the mid-1940s had rubber plantations in Brazil because the plantations in southeast Asia were closed. 

a.saji
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Silver
Re: Inappropriate materials
a.saji   12/19/2013 11:04:09 PM
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@naperlou: Yes that is the cycle. When there are new opportunities the existing ones do close. If not the market will be competitive. 

Mydesign
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Platinum
Biodegradable Plastic
Mydesign   12/20/2013 12:20:21 AM
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"all cars made in Germany had to have biodegradable plastics for all plastic parts. It worked out fine everywhere else, except in the engine compartment where the heat caused the wiring insulation to break down."

Bill, why it's only happened to the plastic content in engine compartment? Am not an automobile engineer, but assume that engine is the most hottest part in a car. I my car I found that radiator and nearby areas are the hottest places.

Mydesign
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Platinum
Re: Inappropriate materials
Mydesign   12/20/2013 12:24:09 AM
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"We often had problems with hoses and seals (among many other problems).  It turns out that the British were still using natural rubber and that it did not hold up as well as synthetic rubber."

Naperlou, I understood that heat bearing capacity of natural rubbers is very low. We have rubber plantation and during drying process, some of them get melted. By adding other components to make synthetic rubber can increase their thermal withstand levl.

Bryan Goss
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Gold
My 94 Toyota truck has been biodegrading since I bought it.
Bryan Goss   12/20/2013 11:57:36 AM
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My truck has been parked outside in the sun for most of it's 19 years in Los Angeles. It started degrading within a couple years of the time I bought it new, and at this point I have replaced most of the hard plastic parts in the cab at least once. The plastic just crumbles away. Thankfully it does not include the insulation of the wires, but does include door handles, door latches, trans linkage, window knobs, dash board, dome light, etc. Just more planned obsolescence as far as I can see.

bigpaws
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Iron
Re: Biodegradable Plastic
bigpaws   12/20/2013 1:23:57 PM
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Yup.  Youre intuition is correct.  All of the plastic will biodegrade at some point, but, it's accelerated in the engine compartment due to heat.  In the case of the Mercedes, they had one minor flash of forethought in that the engine harness is a sub-harness of the whole system - connected to the main harness via connectors. You still have to dig all throught the thing to replace it, but, at least there's no soldering needed.

 

Bill

 

bigpaws
User Rank
Iron
Re: My 94 Toyota truck has been biodegrading since I bought it.
bigpaws   12/20/2013 1:41:18 PM
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I wonder about the provenance of your plastic parts considering their behavior and the time-frame of the build.

 

Cheers

 

Bill

 

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