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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

FYI Silicone is almost resistant to fire.

It has been awhile since I posted anything in here. Honestly, I really don't know what to post most of the time. So I just wait till I have a story or discovery to tell. I may post an opinion about something at one point but until then, here is something for all you pyros out there.

I bought two new silicon liners for my leg last week. These liners have a pin at the end that locks inside my prosthesis. This is how my leg stays on. They cost $660 dollars a piece. That's just the liner. The pin is extra. Can't remember how much extra, since I have had the same one for years now.

Well I got two so I could alternate them each day and hopefully make them last longer. One of them had some excess silicone in the threading where the pin screws on. I tried to screw the pin over it. But that didn't work. Silicone is thick rubbery stuff. So I had a great idea. I would burn it out. It should melt away like plastic, right?

I was a little concerned about what the lighter would do to the rest of the sock, and I spared half a thought that I was about to set this 600 dollar sock on fire but I quickly squelched that. I just didn't want to go back and return it because I am that lazy! So, I grabbed my lighter. It's one of those long barrel kind that you use to start a barbecue or a candle you have to turn upside down to light. And it was the flame torch kind, not the wimpy flickering kind. So I held my breath and aimed the flame at the silicone. It smoldered and turned black, with the edge rimmed in red like the end of a cigarette. I stopped the fire and tried to brush the now burned silicone away. But it wasn't burned away. It was still there, just a little charred. I remember now that silicone has a very high heat tolerance. You can use it to cook food on or in up to 400 degrees I think. This new revelation did not deter me however. I again torched the little lip of flame retardant material and it may have shrunk slightly.

Terribly disappointed that I could not completely burn my adversary away, I grabbed the nearest utensil and started scraping out the remains of the silicone. This utensil happened to be a metal skewer used to dip stuff in a fondue pot. There was two metal prongs on the end and they were flat enough to go between the threads of the metal, hmm..don't know what that thing is called that the screw goes into...reverse screw?

Anyways, I picked the pieces out and was able to remove enough of the silicone to insert the pin with no problem. Problem solved. I just hope now the area around where the pin goes doesn't fall apart from the heat that was inflicted. The black charredness is okay...I mean who's gonna see it?