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What are LEGO Made Of?

Farmer_JohnFarmer_John USA - 4,035 Miles from 62 West Wallaby St., Wigan, Lancashire, UKMember Posts: 2,404
edited October 2011 in Collecting
Are Legos made of standard polyvinyl chloride? The reason I ask is I am trying to determine an acceptable temperature range is to store them in. I realize that attics are not a good idea, but will they be okay in a room that regularly reaches 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit (26-29 degrees C)? Are there any other considerations for storage?

Comments

  • korkor Member Posts: 392
    I would say you're fine at that temp. My home office (and toy room) doesn't have any air conditioning so in the summer its that hot or hotter on a regular basis. The bigger concern would be sunlight. UV light is very bad on most plastics.
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 814
    edited October 2011
    They're made from mostly ABS plastic, with some type of polycarbonate for transparent pieces. And, actually, most attics are fine for storage (temperature-wise, you're good until like 130 F or so?). The big thing to avoid is UV light. Additionally cigarette smoke (which is amazingly terrible-- supposedly even getting through sealed boxes), and supposedly excessive humidity, which can in theory get absorbed by the plastic.

    Older LEGO (from before 1963, or even for several years AFTER 1963, if talking about Samsonite LEGO), is made from Cellulose Acetate, and is more likely to warp. However, I'm not sure if it has the same atmospheric issues as ABS. I know CA is much more susceptible to problems, but I'm not really sure if excessive heat is an issue for it.

    DaveE
  • EricEric Queensland, AustraliaMember Posts: 376
    I live in Australia, and in summer it can easily get well over the 29 degrees and can be 80% humidity+ in Autumn and Spring, and my sets are fine. I wouldn't put my Lego in my attic. An Australian summer would kill anything up there. :/
  • Farmer_JohnFarmer_John USA - 4,035 Miles from 62 West Wallaby St., Wigan, Lancashire, UKMember Posts: 2,404
    edited October 2011
    Awesome feedback...and I do greatly appreciate it!

    I have several boxes stacked up in the master bedroom downstairs (much cooler), but the wife is starting to get annoyed. Limited sunlight upstairs and the legos are in boxes, so I should be good (except for the temptation of my kids to open the boxes). ;-)
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,037
    @Farmer_John. LEGO is made of ABS Novodur, a kind of ABS plastic. You can read more about it here: http://thebrickblogger.com/2011/09/lego-bayer-part-3/
  • LEGO_NabiiLEGO_Nabii Member Posts: 34
    LEGO bricks are made from several types of plastic, ABS is the most common type for normal coloured bricks, transparent parts are PC (poly-carbonate) as are most clips and ball joint sockets. There are ten or so other types used for specialised purposes (for strength or softness or whatever). All types are ordered from chemical companies with the express purpose of surviving under 'normal conditions' for a long time. This includes desert climates. The bricks will be fine with those temperatures you describe - however any built up models will suffer over time from loss of clutch as the studs push their way out of the bricks, re-compress display models occasionally if you want them to stay together.

    As others have said direct ultra violet light -sunlight- can cause rapid yellowing, but so can darkness. The plastic is as ordered stable under normal conditions for a toy, this includes a day night cycle. According to LEGO quality control too much dark is as bad for some of the secret formulas of the chemical companies as direct sunlight is for others. I recently confirmed this by keeping what was a pristine old grey SHIP in boxes in my basement for three years when I unpacked it, it was about 25% yellowed. Keep your bricks in translucent boxes!
    Aanchir
  • tk79tk79 Member Posts: 329
    ^ Wow! I had no idea that LACK of light could be a problem. Obviously the UV issue is well known, but I'm surprised to have not heard about the possible problems with storing in darkness before now. Interesting, thanks.
  • Farmer_JohnFarmer_John USA - 4,035 Miles from 62 West Wallaby St., Wigan, Lancashire, UKMember Posts: 2,404
    Thank you all!

    I guess leaving them in their original boxes is not good then? Very interesting...
  • skypirateskypirate Member Posts: 3
    edited November 2011
    As others have said direct ultra violet light -sunlight- can cause rapid yellowing, but so can darkness. The plastic is as ordered stable under normal conditions for a toy, this includes a day night cycle. According to LEGO quality control too much dark is as bad for some of the secret formulas of the chemical companies as direct sunlight is for others. I recently confirmed this by keeping what was a pristine old grey SHIP in boxes in my basement for three years when I unpacked it, it was about 25% yellowed. Keep your bricks in translucent boxes!
    Can you elaborate on the darkness yellowing plastic, are there other online resources documenting this?

    Can you clarify "25% yellowed" does this mean 1 out of every 4 pieces changed color or all of the gray bricks changed hue by 25%?

    Any chance the box was the culprit? I know in the art world, cardboard boxes are often avoided because they leach out acids that can yellow and damage paper.

    BWT, really nice creations on your Flickr site!
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    @LEGO_Nabii Any more info about the issues of storing things in the dark? Also, does LEGO quality control have a set of best practices for long term storage of LEGO bricks?
  • sramsram Member Posts: 60
    Maybe we should ask the folks who visited the vault in Billund as to how they store the older sets? I am betting there is not much light in that vault.
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