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The Mysteries of Starlite


Starlite is an amazing material that has been perplexing scientists for four decades. It can withstand temperatures of thousands of degrees while demonstrating incredible thermal-resistive capabilities. When heat is applied to it, the material chars, which creates an expanding low-density carbon foam that’s highly heat resistant. A raw egg coated with starlite and subjected to a blowtorch for five minutes is still raw afterward.


To demonstrate starlite’s properties, fifth-grade teacher Joseph Schneider made a batch of the putty-like substance Friday, formed it into an inch-thick disk, placed a handful of pennies on top, then melted them with a blowtorch (shown in the photo above). When he picked the disk up immediately afterward, with the melted pennies still dripping onto the blacktop, the other side wasn’t the slightest bit warm to the touch.


(Joseph and his students wore safety goggles, and Safety Officers Ivy Summers and Vince d’Assis were standing by with a fire extinguisher.)


No one knows the original formula for starlite, which the English inventor took to his grave. He said it contained 21 ingredients. The version Joseph made has the same properties but consisted only of cornstarch, baking soda, and Elmer’s glue.