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what is the name of that cheap plastic which slowly degrades and turns into sludge?

shortylickens

No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
78,647
11,560
126
I only ask because a while back I purchased a knife with that soft plastic/hard rubber on the handle. Just recently I pulled it out and noticed it was gummy and practically melting.
I've also had third party Playstation controllers made of the same material. They too turned to goop after a few years.
 

TheELF

Diamond Member
Dec 22, 2012
3,239
384
126
It's not any specific type of plastic, rather it's the plastic softener/plasticizer that melts over time.
For the makers often the feel of the plastic when new is more important then how long it will last.
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
5,865
593
126
TPE, thermoplastic elastomers. There are some different formulations, with the softer types tending to break down more. In some cases like buttons/keypads, they may be silicone rubber.

You can usually clean the goop off the surface with abrasion and strong, hot, detergent solution, but it is still breaking down.

Fortunately the TPE is usually an overmolding rather than structural member of the device so once you clean it, the device is still usable.

Just wait until society decides that everything plastic or rubber has to rapidly break down to be good for the environment, or that it is cellulose based instead towards same end. I don't mean to start an environmental argument as there are both sides to that, waste in mining/manufacturing and cost to build new, versus repair old in what is already a disposable product oriented society. It's just unfortunate for those of us who don't want to keep replacing products just to get the same job done rather than replacement being a worthwhile upgrade.
 

shortylickens

No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
78,647
11,560
126
TPE, thermoplastic elastomers. There are some different formulations, with the softer types tending to break down more. In some cases like buttons/keypads, they may be silicone rubber.

You can usually clean the goop off the surface with abrasion and strong, hot, detergent solution, but it is still breaking down.

Fortunately the TPE is usually an overmolding rather than structural member of the device so once you clean it, the device is still usable.

Just wait until society decides that everything plastic or rubber has to rapidly break down to be good for the environment, or that it is cellulose based instead towards same end. I don't mean to start an environmental argument as there are both sides to that, waste in mining/manufacturing and cost to build new, versus repair old in what is already a disposable product oriented society. It's just unfortunate for those of us who don't want to keep replacing products just to get the same job done rather than replacement being a worthwhile upgrade.
They already make shopping bags out of biodegradable plastic, but it will be amusing when everything goes in that direction.
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
5,865
593
126
Shopping bags... now so thin, clerks want to double bag so everything doesn't fall out the bottom. This is at convenience stores or even grocery during this covid era, because stores don't want me bringing my own cloth bags.
 
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