[Worldkings] Top 50 inventions and discoveries made by accident (P. 45) Ralph Wiley accidentally discovered Saran plastic while cleaning lab equipment


(Worldkings.org) Saran plastic, used as food wrap, was accidentally discovered in 1933 by Ralph Wiley, a laboratory worker at the Dow Chemical Company.

Polyvinylidene chloride, which Dow dubbed Saran®, was discovered by accident in 1933 by Ralph M. Wiley. His discovery would lead to uses in seating materials, plastic used for wartime and industrial purposes, and eventually Saran Wrap®.



In 1933, Ralph Wiley, a lab worker at Dow chemical discovered the plastic wrap by accident when he was cleaning lab equipment and found a film inside one vial was not coming off. Wiley took the film to his supervisor, John Reilly, who had it analyzed. The film was identified as polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC), a new plastic that had never been seen before. This substance was clingy, resisted chemicals, and was impervious to air and water.

Dow researchers made the substance into a greasy, dark green film. It was initially developed into a spray that was used on US fighter planes and, later, automobile upholstery, to protect them from the elements. Dow Chemical later named the product Saran and eliminated its green hue and offensive odor. The word Saran was formed from a combination of John Reilly's wife's and daughter's names, Sarah and Ann Reilly.



In 1949, Dow introduced Saran Wrap, a thin, clingy plastic wrap that was sold in rolls and used primarily for wrapping food. Saran's excellent oxygen and moisture barrier properties made it suitable for food packaging applications, particularly for preserving the freshness and extending the shelf life of perishable food. It quickly became popular for wrapping food and other items. Saran Wrap is still used today in homes and businesses around the world.



According to plansponsor.com & corporate.dow.com & Wikipedia

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