But then something weird happened: In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Maurice Ward intricately explains the catalyst towards his innovations of the heat defying plastic which he christens Starlite. The 1985 aircraft disaster that claimed the lives of 55 individuals as a result of toxic fumes marked the beginning of the search of a heat defying substance. A substance that would be enhanced to prevent future fire calamities.
The Brains Behind Starlite: Heat resistant plastic
Maurice Ward’s professional background is shrouded in misery. Conflicting accounts about his background by different sources haven’t made it easier to unmask his background either. However, one thing that remains clear, is that Maurice wasn’t a trained chemist. Some unconfirmed reports indicate that he was involved in the hairdressing industry. Mixing dyes and manufacturing plastic tins.
It’s unfortunate that chronological accounts of the starlite invention viewed under the microscope leave a lot to be desired. At one time he is tinkering with plastic for Citroen plastic bonnets, the next time he accidentally stumbles on a heat defying plastic (that he christens ‘gubbins’) after mixing 20 different compounds. Though the historical accounts of the innovation falter at this stage, Maurice innovation remains mind baffling to the scientific world to date.
If Starlite Was Half As Good As It Sounds, Why Wasn’t It Commercialized?
The accounts of the Starlite heat resistant plastic wholesomely rely on personal accounts of Maurice as reported in media. In an interview published by the Telegraph, Maurice attributes the failure of the invention to take off at commercial scale partly due to derision as well as the breakthrough in the invention of Victrex- a thermal plastic that could rival starlite theoretically. However, other vague reports doing rounds paint a picture of an inventor whose thirst of monetary compensation of couldn’t be matched. A classic example of a moving target once in the negotiation table.
The Unturned Stone In The Quest To Decipher Starlite
Having differed with various agencies over the right to relinquish the Starlite plastic manufacturing rights, a lot remains as speculations over the potential use of starlite. A material with so much potential to revolutionize manufacturing and process industries to rewriting the rules of fire safety devices, Starlite was touted to be the next big solution in the heat and insulation applications. To put it into perspective, the wild bush fires, buildings previously targeted for bombings by religious extremist had they been reinforced with Starlite would never have collapsed.
In his own words, Maurice narrates to his audience how Starlite could withstand the blast of up to 75 Hiroshima’s. An account which is debatable since the invention never left the ‘hairdresser’ closet. As interesting as it sounds the most unfortunate part is that Starlite never lived to its billing. Apart from media stunts and publicity of an egg coated with Starlite paint being protracted from the unforgiving flames of a blowtorch, no records exist of a single application of Starlite plastic.
Putting out the flame
The secrecy with which Starlite was invented and developed was bound to generate lots of conspiracy theories. A thermostable plastic, able to withstand temperatures greater than 10,000°C (rivaling the surface of the sun temperature!) wouldn’t definitely haven’t passed the attention of the defense forces. With such an invention in the battlefield, victory is a formality. Two versions exist: either it was a hoax or powerful security agencies that at one time were involved in the takeover succeeded in classifying the plastic recipe.
As things stand, with the demise of Maurice, the brains behind Starlite, will we ever unearth the true potential of Starlite?-that’s the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question.+
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