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.


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.