Recycle those milk jugs...they could help save a life!
News story originally written on March 13, 1997
We all know that milk "does a body good." Who knew that plastic milk containers
could save lives in an emergency? In an attempt to find the perfect lightweight
metal insulation for spacecraft, NASA created a new material made of recycled
plastic milk jugs that provide great insulation. (Insulation is something that
keeps heat or cold from escaping. For instance, your winter coat is a type of
insulation that keeps your body warm from the cold weather. Another example
would be a thermos, which you may use on a trip or at a football game to keep
your hot chocolate or soup warm.)
This new material will be used for new emergency rescue blankets. Currently,
rescue blankets are made out of wool. According to researcher Steve Miller of
S.D. Miller and Associates, "The [new plastic] blankets are better than wool or
fleece because they are non-allergenic, and they dry five times faster. The new
material is also four times warmer than wool in cold and damp conditions."
The Thermalon company will distribute these blankets to ambulance companies, Red
Cross chapters, etc. The blankets are made by layering process with a
"honeycomb" lattice, allowing the blanket to retain warmth even when wet.
The processing of the new material is also expected to be used with a metallic
substance for spacecraft insulation. This new design will reduce launch costs
and weight significantly.
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