What Am I? 19

Below I’ve listed the key chemicals found in a commonly available  product, which may be slightly UK-centric.  I’ve drawn the chemical structures of principal components where simple and appropriate; given the E number or CAS number (however tempting Sigma-Aldrich catalogue numbers would be) if no simple chemical structure exists for an additive; and given the chemical formulae or name if neither of the above make sense.  See if you can guess what this is!  If no one gets it within 24 hours, I will post a clue.  If you guess on Twitter (@kjhaxton), please DM your guess so others can play.


Updated  again to add: sorry, missed out a couple of carbonyls on one of the polymers – the top polymer is supposed to be spandex or elastane…clearly had an aversion to the oxygen button on Symyx this afternoon!

14 thoughts on “What Am I? 19

  1. Starch, some kind of paper substrate? Not many things with liquid starch. Obviously an azo-dye, elemental silver, and two polymers I can’t make heads or tails of.

    [update] Procion Red MX-5B, also called “Reactive Red 120”

    The polymers, no idea. Some kind of ink or red fibrous material?

  2. The first polymer is a polyurethane with methylene diphenyl 4-4′ diisocyanate (MDI). (This polyurethane is a good thermal insulator and used in the likes of freezers.) That’s only the right half of that whole polymer though.

    The second polymer looks vaguely like a nylon, but has no amide polymer linkages.

  3. LOL, ok then. 🙂

    The left half of the polyurethane bugs me. I don’t know where to start with it! A 1,1-disubstituted ethylene with nitrogen???

    A dense nylon; a rigid polyurethane (unless the left half changes that); cellulose; red color; and elemental silver. Seems like a rather hodge-podge of materials to be a single substance. Something more like a waterproof red nylon fabric with silver fasteners or something.

  4. The red is called a “reactive dye”, probably the triazine will condense at RT with things like the hydroxyls in cellulose without altering the chromophore, so this is more likely to be something already dyed red when sold. The silver + paper + plastic threw me for a bit, thought it was some kind of old-school camera film.

  5. That second polymer looks *very* odd to me – geminal diamines and terminal alkenes? If I make the bold and unwarranted assumption of a mistake (e.g. they’re ureas), then the copolymer’s structure is simply known as “Spandex”.

    So, a spandex/nylon blend, red, with elemental silver and cellulose involved somewhere.

  6. Clearly I’m having carbonyl issues with this week’s entry 😉 Yes, the second polymer is “spandex” (known in the UK as “elastane” or “lycra”). Sorry again 🙁

  7. Cellulose as in cotton, possibly? Cotton+nylon+spandex: red pantyhose (AE) aka tights (BE)? Then there’s that pesky silver…

  8. A speaker cable? Silver wire core, cotton insulation, and red nylon on the sheath? I can’t find any that use lycra in the blend though.

  9. Colin – you’re closer with something like tights/pantyhose. Silver is used in clothing items for a particular use…(at least in the UK anyway).

  10. I’m entirely out of educated — or even semi-educated — guesses. The only thing google gets me on “lycra silver metal” is a plethora of things like leotards and various other tight-fighting garments. The most plausible, then, seems to be leotards with silver thread for a metallic look. So: red leotard with silver threading is my final answer. 🙂

  11. Well silver is known for antibacterial properties, and small particles (the manufacturers are emphasising that they’re NOT NANOPARTICLES), are often bound into fibres to stop bacteria making things smell. This particular blend of fibres (cotton, elastane/spandex and nylon) is often found in socks (and probably different proportions in leotards, particularly the tight fitting ones)! Have a look at this shop: http://bit.ly/leyT99 – the ‘freshfeet’ technology, but I know that other UK retailers (Tesco, Next) also do silver containing socks.

  12. 7 Pairs of Cotton Rich Freshfeet Socks with Silver Technology

    Oh, well there was my problem in searching: Silver Technology.

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