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Hardware Science

Amiga Community Collaborates On Restorative Gel To Brighten Your Old Plastic 225

jamie pointed out an Amiga community that took a discovery of how to restore old computer plastic, super-charged it, and then opened the process to the public domain. Time to spruce up those old dusty TRS-80s in the basement. "All of the initial tests were done with a liquid and we realized that for large parts this was getting expensive, so the next stage was to make a paintable 'gel' version that could be brushed onto larger surfaces. This was tried in Arizona in the sun and the UK under a UV lamp and was found to be just as effective as the liquid. We have now released this to the public domain for anyone to use as we can't patent it and we coined the nickname 'Retr0brite' for it, as it summed up what we were actually doing with it."
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Amiga Community Collaborates On Restorative Gel To Brighten Your Old Plastic

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  • by hcdejong ( 561314 ) <hobbes&xmsnet,nl> on Monday March 02, 2009 @06:07PM (#27045221)

    You'd have to be careful with at least PET, because that degrades when exposed to H2O2 for more than a minute or so. So I'd check for possible side-effects before attempting to spruce up your preciousss with this.

  • by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Monday March 02, 2009 @06:21PM (#27045373) Journal

    I assume that they are an acrylic, although polycarboanate plastic is also a possibility. I also assume that they are the thermoplastic variety rather than the thermosetting type. Acrylics often use an amine catalyst which tends to cause yellowing. Moisture and UV exposure causes embrittlement, clouding, cracking and crazing in acrylics.

  • by Kell Bengal ( 711123 ) on Monday March 02, 2009 @06:40PM (#27045549)
    The problem here is that it's not that the plastic is 'unclean' but that the material has chemically reacted with UV and fire retardants to fade the plastic itself. It's the MacBeth of stains - you scrub and it never comes out.
  • by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <slashdot AT pitabred DOT dyndns DOT org> on Monday March 02, 2009 @06:50PM (#27045661) Homepage
    Yea. Amigas can do anything! [youtube.com]

    That aside, Bones is actually a pretty good show if you can ignore the "scientific" leaps.
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday March 02, 2009 @08:18PM (#27046541) Journal

    >>>ATARI ST > Switch on > under GEM within 3 seconds

    Uh. Amiga Workbench was no different. Turn-on, boot from floppy, and done in 2-3 seconds. ----- If you go directly to a CLI then it's virtually instantaneous (the OS is in the kickstart ROM).


    I can't believe I just got sucked into another ST versus Amiga argument. I thought that nonsense ended twenty years ago. Well at least the Amiga could play music straight out of the box, thanks to its Paula sound chip. The ST sound sucked; like an old 1978 Atari 8-bit, or a touchtone phone. Beep-boop-beep. Even the lowly NES sounds better than an ST.

    Zing. I've still got it. ;-)

  • by Civil_Disobedient ( 261825 ) on Monday March 02, 2009 @08:54PM (#27046807)

    Too bad it was made by Commodore.

    Hey, now. The original Amiga--the technical foundation of the entire line of systems--wasn't designed by Commodore. It was primarily the brainchild of Jay Miner [wikipedia.org], the same IC guru that designed the Atari 2600's graphics chip, TIA [wikipedia.org].

    What's really too bad is that it was marketed by Commodore.

  • by chiark ( 36404 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @05:27AM (#27049045) Homepage Journal

    I *think* that it's not oxygenating at all: the chemistry is replacing oxygen that is bonded to a bromine (or bromide? dunno) compond with a hydrogen compound. Or something like that.

    I think it's absolutely not oxidation: the "vanish oxy action" is used for its TAED content which may act as a catalyst, not the oxygenating properties.

  • by MerlinUK ( 1491001 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @07:41AM (#27049583) Homepage
    Hi, I am the guy that wrote the Wiki. Now, I know that there are skeptics out there and I may have over simplified the science a bit so that non-nerds can understand what's going on, but I am open to listen to anyone who can explain the chemistry that is actually going on in a coherent way. I may have made it too simple I suppose. Regarding the ABS polymer itself; consider that black car bumpers and trim are made from (yes you've guessed it) ABS. These tend to go white (not yellow or brown) over a long time in sunlight. This is the ABS polymer degrading to the hydroperoxide via oxidation. The computer parts only go white if you use too strong a peroxide solution, so what is reacting under UV so quickly? My theory is it's the TBBP-A flame retardant which is active under UV and decomposes. There is also the phenomenon of migration, where ingredients can move within the plastic matrix and eventually get to the surface. I believe that the degradation products of TBBP-A migraet through the ABS and this is what make it discolour as the molecules attract oxygen molecules. There have also been comments elsewhere that the site is a hoax and that the photos are faked; if this were so, how could the photographs post in the various forums threads I added to the Reading section of the Wiki this morning be faked? They aren't, simple as......... I know I risk feeding trolls with this but this isn't a hoax. As this uses properietary products as part of the mixture, it couldn't be patented, however, I suppose I could have patented the use of H2O2 with TAED in a use for treating plastic. I chose not to and so it was released for all into the public domain. Don't flame me; try it for yourself. Let the flaming begin...........
  • by mollymoo ( 202721 ) on Tuesday March 03, 2009 @09:41AM (#27050255) Journal

    The in-depth explanation of the chemistry on the site describes the relevant reaction as a reduction of the free bromine produced when the flame retardant decomposes.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!