Plastic aging

Old Nov 9th 2016, 11:09 am
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Default Plastic aging

I noticed that here in Malaysia, plastic and synthetic fiber fabrics tend to age quite fast an become brittle.
That also goes for some types of shoe soles, they suddenly disintegrate into a coarse powder.
Any idea why it is so?
Not only cheap stuff but also branded items like Ecco shoes are affected.

I lived for years in Africa, South America and Middle East but never experienced this problem there, it seems to only happen here.
Any ideas why?
Surely the Penang air cannot be so polluted that it affects the materials?
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Old Nov 9th 2016, 10:56 pm
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Default Re: Plastic aging

Sounds like your question is worth a major grant to a university in order to produce the answer.

Or can BE supply it for nothing.
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Old Nov 9th 2016, 11:01 pm
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As replacing the defective items is less expensive than providing a university grant, I was hoping for the latter alternative
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Old Nov 10th 2016, 1:34 am
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Default Re: Plastic aging

Could it be that todays materials are of inferior quality compared to yesterdays?
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Old Nov 10th 2016, 2:03 am
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Default Re: Plastic aging

Very similar happens here in New Zealand. Plastics, rubber etc deteriorate quite quickly. Apparently this is due to the UV . The sunlight here is very harsh with less ozone than elsewhere on the planet.
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Old Nov 10th 2016, 5:10 am
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Default Re: Plastic aging

Originally Posted by Gunnar45 View Post
I noticed that here in Malaysia, plastic and synthetic fiber fabrics tend to age quite fast an become brittle.
That also goes for some types of shoe soles, they suddenly disintegrate into a coarse powder.
Any idea why it is so?
Not only cheap stuff but also branded items like Ecco shoes are affected.

I lived for years in Africa, South America and Middle East but never experienced this problem there, it seems to only happen here.
Any ideas why?
Surely the Penang air cannot be so polluted that it affects the materials?
You are not alone, Gunnar:-

The Case of the Crumbling Shoes - Metropolis

I've not had the problem so maybe it's a foot thing or maybe I don't walk as much as you. (I doubt sunlight can be the problem, unless you walk on your hands )
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Old Nov 10th 2016, 6:13 am
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Default Re: Plastic aging

Hi IVV,
And thanks for the link!
I can deduct from it that it is due to that todays quality of the materials used is inferior to what was used say 10-15 years ago.
My worst experience was when we wee disembarking from an AA flight at the old KL budget terminal.
Suddenly when walking inside the arrival hall I felt that I was walking on unstable ground.
I suspected this to come from some solvent or oil on the ground outside but didn't look down.
The my wife started to giggle, because a cleaner with a broom was following me. The tiled shiny floor was very clean, but at every step I made, I left a lot of black crumbles and the cleaner was looking at me in an annoyed way.
I had actually noticed the cleaner following me and had looked at him, equally annoyed!

It was first when my wife explained what was the problem that I understood what had happened and when checking, I saw that almost all of both my shoe soles had disintegrated.
So I apologized to the cleaner, but I don't know if he understood what I meant.

But also plastic household items break up and becom brittle.

Strangely the cheap copy 'crocs' clog type foam rubber type shoes I use to go to the pool since 2010 are except a little wear on the soles doing fine!
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Old Nov 10th 2016, 9:51 am
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Default Re: Plastic aging

I've been around this area since 1980 it's nothing new shoes fell apart in those days the same as they do now, it's not a recent cheaper manufacturing process or quality issue. Shoes tend to be worn stuck on rack forgotten for maybe few weeks months, put them on they either crack underneath or the foam turns to powder. Shoes tend to then become moist due to feet, then the high Humidity helps as well. In industrial type locations where footwear becomes wet, they have special drying cabinets to stop this.
I normally try to put my footwear in the sun occasionally, & regardless I will change footwear & wear something different even for a few hours, it keeps them supple, they are all rotated regardless of sandals, normal shoes, walking shoes, just don't ignore them.

Yes a lot modern plastics, buckets, etc break down in the strong UV this is a different issue.
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Old Nov 13th 2016, 12:32 am
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Default Re: Plastic aging

As man from emas says. It's the humidity. Same in Singapore. Nothing to do with sunlight I doubt. I just buy cheap footwear now and replace often.

Just one of those things in the tropics. Like. ....Car batteries
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Old Nov 13th 2016, 5:40 am
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Default Re: Plastic aging

Actually my car battery has lasted over three years now, including the three months summer breaks without the need of charging. I have one of those sealed type car batteries.

Regarding shoes, etc, it might be the humidity as some of the stuff affected has not been out in the sunlight.
But then again, during 3.5 years in hot & humid Tanzania I did not have these problems. Like here, the A/C was not kept on except at nights.
In Kuwait I had no problems, but there all was stored in air conditioned environment.

But the soles a couple of Ecco pairs which I had since the time of TZ disintegrated here in Penang.
Plus the soles of a number of newer shoes.

BTW, Not only shoe soles, also synthetic fibre and certain plastic materials suffer here.
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