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What's Inside: Fix-a-Flat

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I love the What's Inside that Wired does every so often. You remember spray cheese from way back, right? This month they list what's inside the miraculous Fix-A-Flat:

A type of fluorocarbon that doesn’t deplete the ozone layer, TFE is found in everything from cryogenic-tissue kits to car air conditioners. Here it’s used as a tire inflator, a drying agent, and a propellant for the other ingredients. Unfortunately, it’s also a greenhouse gas that’s been implicated in abnormal tes-ticular growth in rats - you must have some serious cojones to keep using it.

Heavy aromatic solvent naphtha
It’s not called aromatic because it smells (though it does - like petroleum). Aromatic is a scientific term referring to any molecule with one or more hexagonal rings of six carbon atoms. They can be unusually stable and powerful solvents for other hydrocarbons. Since naphtha is a mixture of medium-weight aromatic rings in the C9-to-C16 range (extra carbon atoms can hang off the sides of the main structure), it easily dissolves smaller carbon compounds like simple plastics but won’t harm larger polymers like styrene-butadiene (synthetic tire rubber).


posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:23 PM |

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At 1/28/2007, Blogger juliehibbard said...

Do yourself a favor my friend, and stock up on this stuff now. When my kids were teenagers, this stuff saved my life.
Of course, it did not save me from having to drive up to Hollywood at 2am a few years ago when Zac and his friends went to a concert and had a flat when they came out. I had to bring a can to him. It was quite an adventure.


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