Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ol' Yeller....Plastic

Okay, so you've got a vintage computer or whatever and the case has gone all yellow-brown? Thought you were doomed, 'cos, hey, the plastic is deteriorating?

Maybe not. The "browns with age" thing is a chemical reaction, all right, from fire-retardant chemicals in the plastic (likely containing bromine, if I understand what I've read so far) and the effect can be reversed! Not totally, but it'll take an old smoker's-lung computer case a long ways back towards the original hue. Have a look here (retrocomputer hobbyist BBS).

Dabba Oxy-Clean, bitta 12% hydrogen peroxide, UV light, good ventilation, use eye protection, do not ingest mixture, keep away from kids, pets and Leftists, yadda-yadda. I have not tried this, just sharin' what stumbled across.

It's entirely possible this trick may have other applications. Experiment at your own risk.

5 comments:

charles said...

It's amazing what people come up with when they think about the chemistry of everyday things.

Anonymous said...

BASF: We don't make the gas. We make it poison.

Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for the tip. I've a
friend who restores '40s and '50s
radios ... this should be a big help
to him.
Anon, Don

butch_s said...

You'd be surprised how much of a computer is dishwasher safe :D

Roberta X said...

Don, I would recommend extreme caution trying this trick with '40s - '50s plastic. The formulations are very different to 1980s computer cases.