Monday, February 28, 2011

Latex Longevity

This is a followup to Saturday's post about the effect on long term immersion on the kind of latex creatures using in "things in a bottle".

After 48 hours out of the solution the worm has dried and shrunk back to it's original size. Based on that I think it's safe to say that the swelling is caused by the latex acting like a sponge and absorbing the water, as opposed to actually reacting with anything in the solution. The latex is firm and tight, in contrast to the soft consistency it displayed right after being removed from the fluid.

After eight months of immersion there's absolutely no degradation of the latex. I have older specimens that look fine, but this is the first one I've opened up and closely examined. The only noticeable change to the body is the loss of some applied weathering to the surface. That appears to be the result of abrasion against the inside of the glass and not any kind of breakdown.

I'm still trying to figure out how the green dye from the fluid colored the epoxy resin of the teeth.


Laurie Brown said...

Have you ever experimented with polymer clay creatures in a bottle?

I made a creature, and was going to submerge it in rubbing alcohol (having heard that plain water would grow algae), then remembered that alcohol is the solvent for poly clay- at least before it's cured. Anything thoughts?

BTW, I love your blog and your creations!

Noadi said...

My guess is the resin is probably porous and absorbed the dye. Why it didn't also stain the latex I'm not sure.

Laurie Brown: Cured polymer clay can be cleaned with alcohol but I have no idea the long term effects. If you clean your polyclay very well (like with alcohol), use a clean jar, distilled water, and keep the jar tightly lidded after filling you should drastically cut down the risk of any algae growing in it.

Personally I use an acrylic resin made for floral displays that looks just like water except has the benefit of being hard so it can't spill and forever protects the polyclay. The downside of this method is that the resin is quite expensive, especially compared to distilled water which you can get a gallon of at any grocery store for about a dollar.

Anonymous said...

Polymer clay things are easy to make, but you pretty much need some rubber cement or latex to seal it or else you'll get a bunch of chunks floating around in the jar.

Coloring these kinds of specimens is rather difficult though, due to the nature of latex. The color has to be mixed with or on top of the latex in order for it to show, which creates more variables when it comes to degradation.

Anonymous said...

Actually, you can get both clear latex and clear rubber cement, and use that as a sealant over paint. It worked for me!

Phil said...

I guess thats the real question isn't it. Just how long will these things last? I gues sits all a learning process.

Mine are polymer clay coated with latex thats been mixed with acrylic. So far the only difficulty has been the whitening and swelling. I also discivered that in doing so, the latex has a tendency to pull free from the surface of the clay. So giving the clay a texture for it to grab on to might be advisable. Unless you like the 'peeling flesh' look of course. :)

Jamie said...

That said, I'm not positive that alcohol won't dissolve latex over time.

Serith Srillik said...

As I recall, if you soak a latex casting in kerosine it will permanently become engorged. This process was used decades ago to create "Bigfoot" prints with nothing more than a cast of an average man's feet and a bucket of kerosine.

Anonymous said...

I've used PVA (for example, here - because PVA is more stable, than latex.

But it needs to be submerged not in alcohol nor in water.

As I can see, glycerin works just fine. I was able to add yellowish brown color by adding soluble coffee.