The Quest For Polypropylene… And A Dead Body?!?

23 Jul

AKA The Trouble With Muggles

Geocaching is my latest athletic pursuit… and for those who haven’t met me, in the Laurel and Hardy still-shot below, I’m the guy on the right… lest we say, my athletic interests haven’t been the number one priority in my life, but… well… I’ve been waiting for that something that would keep me interested and I think I’ve found it. Geocaching is a techie-treasure hunt. You visit, sign up for a free membership, key in a postal code where you’d like some adventure (we chose Barrie, Ontario) and it gives you a list of a couple of hundred hidden treasures within the area. You plug in the longitude and latitude of your quarry into your GPS (mine is a Megellan 400 that I bought off ebay) and off you go. What are me and my fellow adventurer, Dean, looking for? Why did we travel 200km to THIS place? Why, for a small, rectangular plastic polypropylene (Tupperware) container, of course. As geocaching etiquette prescribes one doesn’t bury their treasure… one hides it or camouflages it. Granted that, as the seeker, it’s pretty easy to get yourself within 10 feet of it, but, as we found on our first attempt, you don’t always find what you’ve spent the last hour looking for. What’s in the box? Usually small meaningless trinkets to anyone but the person who’s fallen off rocks, twisted their ankles, tripped into creeks, and slid down thorny inclines to get to them. You take a trinket – you leave a trinket; then sign the small guest book carefully wrapped inside. This particular one has been in place since 2003. Now, when we got out of the truck our target location was about half a kilometre away – after calculating the distance taken to get there – over 2 km… argh! But we found it. Bully for us!

Ok, and now the part about the body…

Muggles is a geocaching term for a non-geocacher — a civilian — someone who isn’t in on the adventure – and, we ran into a bunch of them. We started the quest from the Arboretum in Barrie – a beautiful park & forest right in the middle of the city. And, we saw lots — lots and lots — of people, very young-to-very old, out and about in it. In fact, these people were all digging through the forests overturning limbs, piles of leaves, and rocks just like us… so, innocently we commented on how popular geocaching has become and that maybe we’re in the middle of a Boy Scout or Girl Guide event outing. We pushed through the lot following the direction finder on my GPS and people appeared to be getting a little miffed that we weren’t… well… as focused on the task as them and a Muggle approached us… “So, you’re here with the search?” And I replied, “Well, we’re looking for s small plastic container. What are you looking for?” To which she replied, “A body” [insert awkward pregnant pause here]. The woman offered us a picture of a young girl that had gone missing and explained that all the people in the park today were volunteering to scour the fringes for her remains. We bade them good luck under the circumstances, offered to keep our eyes open for anything suspicious, and carried on with our quest.

And now the part about POLYPROPYLENE…

Geocaching prescribes a plastic container for a reason. But, as I’ve discussed in previous articles, not all plastics are created equal. Tupperware has always had a great reputation for an airtight seal – and, that it is made out of polypropylene makes it a perfect geocaching treasure chest. Polypropylene is resilient to most chemicals so it won’t be affected by acids in the dirt or rain water. Polypropylene doesn’t absorb water so you could actually immerse it and your goods would remain dry providing the seal on your lid is waterproof. And, provided it’s kept out of direct sunlight, it will maintain its colour.

As an industrial product, polypropylene (PP or “polypro”) is probably one of the more rugged plastics available. Sheets can be welded together to form acid bath tanks for use in electroplating the chrome on your bumpers or the gold on your rings.

Polypro Tanks… Notice The Grey PVC Pipe & Fittings, Too

It has a very durable yet forgiving surface capable of withstanding the impact of die cutters.

The material machines well and is often used in medical applications such as test tube holders and equipment components.

Polypropylene comes in both homopolymer and a co-polymer. For you engineers out there, the homopolymer has a higher maximum operating temperature (100°C / 210°F), better tensile strength, modulus and HDT than unmodified PP copolymer. The co-polymer has good impact properties even at low temperatures and slightly increased elongation at break compared with unmodified PP homopolymer.

White vs WHITE – many manufacturers of polypropylene extrude the product with a particular white tint that helps identify it – almost like a brand mark. Functionally, it’s all polypropylene but some might be whiter than others, or little more or a little less milky in translucence. And, this colour can sometimes change from one batch to another so it’s important to realize that colour really doesn’t matter – except if the application calls for a consistent cosmetic appearance.

Did you know? That the water tanks in most fire trucks are polypropylene?

So, when you need polypropylene sheet, rod, or tube be sure to call Warehoused Plastic Sales for a quote.


One response to “The Quest For Polypropylene… And A Dead Body?!?

  1. hiutopor

    September 20, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Hi all!

    Very interesting information! Thanks!



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