What graduation, bachelor party or parade would be complete without the surprising fun appearance of silly string? This strange foam substance has become part of New Years celebrations all over the world. This foam string has become a part of celebrations world wide. Millions have wondered what is the story behind this mysterious spray. Today we answer that question.
Silly String was first introduced in 1969 by one Julius Samann. If that name sounds familiar it is because he is also the very same inventor that brought us the pine-tree-shaped air fresheners for cars. Thank you Julius I love Vinallaroma. Mr. Samann was attempting to create the ultimate gag gift. Since then several similar products have been made Streamer String and Wacky String being to of the most popular. The only thing that is known about Silly String is that it is mostly non-toxic, non-flammable, and free of CFCs. Apart from that, no one except the manufacturer knows exactly what the ingredients really are. Scientists believe that it is a polymer-based, most likely on a polystyrene, dissolved in a CFC-based solvent that evaporates in the air and acts as a foaming agent; the chlorinated hydrocarbon was recently replaced with fluorinated hydrocarbon due to environmental concerns. Some other alleged ingredients are a small amount of isopropyl alcohol, and plasticizers like dibutyl phthalate.
How does it work? The toy string products store a gooey material combined with a propellant gas in an aerosol can. As the nozzle is pressed down, a pressurized stream of foamy string erupts for the plastic nozzle and shoots out to distances from 3 to 600 feet, depending on the product. It is the pressure in the can propels the mixture wildly in to the air. Silly String can be found in many different colors. The can come in varying sizes and also different level of the pressure. The higher the pressure the farther the distance it will shoot.
The product is “non toxic” there are reported cases of skin irritation and even frostbite. The fluorinated hydrocarbon under a lot of pressure becomes cold and is the likely cause of the reported frostbite concerns. Hydrocarbons remove fat from cells and may cause chemical burns on the skin. If ingested there is a possibility of prolonged vomiting. Exposure to the eye has resulted in on visual damage just skin irritation around the eye. The dye can in certain situations stain clothes. Be careful to remove all foam from your clothes. Certain American Cities have actually banned the substance.
You might be surprised to learn that Silly string besides being used at celebrations it is also a secret tool used buy the United States Military. An unnamed Marine Sergeant is quoted “Silly string has served me well in Combat especially in looking for I.A.Ds., simply put, booby traps…When you spray the string it just spreads everywhere and when it sets it lays right on the wire. Even in a dark room the string stands out revealing the trip wire.” Not only does our favorite foam spray liven up a party it also saves lives.
That is the story behind silly string. This ever present party substance is now not quit so mysterious and dangerous. From spraying a sleeping friend to spraying the crowd at a New Year’s Celebration Silly String is a guaranteed good time. While we ma still not understand what or how streamer string works we do know that it is a great time. Make sure to follow the rules of use and be sure to not eat any of it.