Starlite inventor Maurice Ward is working with a Denville, N.J., company on a prototype for an undisclosed household product. Jon Burley, owner of Burley Products Inc., said his commercial product is being made with a ``low-grade version'' of Starlite, a heat-resistant plastic composite that has received worldwide attention.
Ward said in an April 5 telephone interview from his Hartlepool, England, home that BPI's application will use not Starlite, but a ``whole different material'' that exhibits ``good thermal barrier properties'' and costs far less than Starlite to produce.
Neither Burley nor Ward would say how much BPI paid Ward to develop the application.
Starlite, which is not patented, initially created a stir among scientists, government agencies and the commercial sector, because of its fire-retardant, heat-resistant properties that, as Ward de-scribed it, would allow the material to withstand a nuclear blast.
But only Ward really knows the composition of the material - and he won't talk about that.
``From all the data we've seen, it really is a remarkable insulating material,'' said Rustum Roy, a professor in the Materials Research Lab at Penn State in State College, Pa. ``It's a formed polymer of some kind. But it's obviously heavily loaded with inorganic compounds.''
BPI should be manufacturing large quantities of its commercial product, using Ward's new formulation, by year's end, Ward said. Prototype testing is scheduled in a few weeks.
Ward would not disclose how the material will be processed. But BPI, which employs a team of six with experience in design, engineering, production and marketing, will contract a firm to manufacture the item, Burley said.