Analysis of Plastic from the Mac Brazel Debris field aka Roswell Crash Site

Analysis of Plastic from the Mac Brazel Debris field aka Roswell Crash Site

Case File Information

Date of Event / Case File: 07/04/1947

Background/Objective

Identify a plastic fragment from the Roswell debris field.

Conclusions

  • The specimen is identified as polystyrene. This is a common plastic first commercialized in the 1930s. The shape of the fragment suggests it is part of a plastic eating utensil. This is a very common use for polystyrene.1 The earliest patent for a polystyrene eating utensil is February 21, 1950. 2 So, it is unlikely related to a crash retrieval team in 1947.
  • The outside surface has suffered oxidative degradation i.e. suffered weathering due to exposure to sunlight under atmospheric conditions. Polystyrene is normally designed for a one time use,3 and is not weather resistant.4 It is difficult to estimate how long the sample was in the ground not knowing specific exposure conditions. A speculation, based on the appearance of the infrared spectrum and polystyrene’s poor weathering properties, is that it was no more than 10-20 years.

The Analysis

 

 

Comments

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Originating Organization: Phyllis Budinger


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