Sunlight Prisms

by AquaNew on August 18, 2017

in Human Interest Stories, Science / Research

Our long-term Watt-Ahh customers will recall the gallon size that we offered and sadly had to abandon production in 2013. One of the many reasons was trying to find a local source for PET1 plastic gallon jugs (other types of less preferable plastic jugs are more available). We were delighted to find a possible new gallon bottle being used for other products, and these products were even on the shelves at Publix (where we purchased this sample shown in the photo to the left). Our delight quickly diminished when we read the decal added to the top of the bottle: “Consumer Alert: Do not leave in direct sunlight. Bottle may act as a lens and magnify sun’s ray.”

Yikes! We even did our own outdoor experiment placing white paper under the same bottle filled with water (no removal of the paper label) and after less than five minutes of exposure to bright sunlight, the paper ignited. The broker told us about two known fires resulting from the same bottle, one being left in a car and another in the front window of someone’s living room. Somehow, the bottle designers unknowingly created a configuration for this bottle that was a perfect sunlight prism, and needless to say, this specific bottle is likely no longer on the market.

We found this survival video on how to start a fire using a bottle of water.  It appears that someone needs to remove the label from the bottled water and aim the white light spectrum formed by sunlight going through the plastic bottle, onto a printed black area on the white paper.

As a precaution, it is recommended to take your bottled water with you when leaving your car.

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