Brittle plastic

Alan Perry aperry at
Wed Sep 2 15:55:22 CDT 2020

Is the problem age per se or exposure (UV, oxidation, heat, etc.) over 
time that one can protect against?

My Sun lunch box and pizza box systems are not exposed to UV or 
excessive heat most of the time. Some of them are kept bagged (because 
it is very dusty where I live). That should help, right?


On 9/2/20 12:02 PM, Rico Pajarola via cctech wrote:
> I have a friend who is a Materials Science Technologist and specializes in
> injection molded plastics. So... basically the same thing that's in
> computer cases (even though he doesn't deal with computer cases). I grilled
> him at length on this topic, and he insisted that the brittleness with age
> (and UV light) is expected and irreversible. Basically, the plastic
> softeners are off-gassing, and there's no way to put them back in.
> I'm still hoping for a happier second opinion, though I'm not holding my
> breath.
> In my experience, brittleness varies wildly and goes from "no big deal" to
> "crumbles if you blow at it", even for otherwise identical machines. I
> recently acquired a Japanese Ultra 1 clone, and the back was smashed in
> shipping, and crumbled into a thousand pieces not even large enough to glue
> back together. Luckily the front only had a single crack that could be
> glued back together.
> On Fri, Aug 28, 2020 at 9:38 AM Tom Hunter via cctalk <cctalk at>
> wrote:
>> Today I was working on a very nice 1995 vintage SPARCstation LX with CDROM
>> and QIC-150 tape drive (3 lunchbox type units). I was trying to install a
>> newer version of NetBSD on it than was already installed. The stack of 3
>> units was stored in a museum grade glass display cabinet. Sadly all 3 units
>> have a small degree of yellowing but more importantly the plastic cases
>> have become very brittle and bits just break off with minimal mechanical
>> strain.
>> Is there any process to reverse the brittleness which could be used to
>> preserve the cases?
>> Thanks
>> Tom Hunter

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