I have been reading a book on Industrial Plastics, which describes the properties of several kinds of plastics. I have been considering this information in regard to covering the Gulf of Mexico floor with a layer of plastic to seal off leakage from fissures, as discussed in the previous post.
Well, a good candidate for this job is called Polyamide-imide, or PAI. It was marketed in 1972 by Amoco Chemical Company, under the trade name Torlon.
It has a relative density of 1.41, so that even without rocks mixed in, it will sink and stay sunk. But the really special thing about it is the incredible pressures it can withstand.
Tensile strength: 26,830 pounds per square inch. Compressive strength: 39,900 psi.
Forty thousand pounds per square inch! That should take care of sealing any fissures, redirecting oil flow back into the main hole, from which it can be harvested by the spillinator.
Lest you’re concerned about melting, it has a heat resistance of 260 degrees centigrade. That should keep it in place.
Industrial production of petroleum-based plastics runs to billions of tons annually, which is millions of tons per day. As mentioned, a million tons is sufficient to cover a square kilometer with a layer of plastic one meter thick. So it wouldn’t take long to begin this operation.