Starlite is one of those things that keeps coming up, and the story is repeated almost without question. An inventor, Maurice Ward, developed what he called a "plastic" that was flame resistant. He usually demonstrated this with a blowtorch, sometimes on an egg.
The material appears to be a white paste that sets. When a flame is applied it chars and expands a bit.
Here's a video describing the story:Under tests, Starlite was claimed to be able to withstand attack by a laser beam that could produce a temperature of 10,000 degrees Celsius. Live demonstrations on Tomorrow's World and BBC Radio 4 showed that an egg coated in Starlight could remain raw, and cold enough to be picked up with a bare hand, even after five minutes in the flame of a blowtorch. It would also prevent a blowtorch from damaging a human hand. When heat is applied, the material chars, which creates an expanding low density foam of carbon which is very thermally resistant.
Starlite's composition is a closely guarded secret, but it is said to contain a variety of organic polymers and co-polymers with both organic and inorganic additives, including borates and small quantities of ceramics and other special barrier ingredients — up to 21 in all. Perhaps uniquely for a material claimed to be thermal and blast-proof, it is claimed to be not wholly inorganic but up to 90 percent organic.
The results of the egg test are at 1:12
People have tried to replicate it, one Keith Lewis said he made some with "things you find in your own home"
He strongly suggests it involved PVA glue. Luckily I had a bottle full of PVA glue from an old book-binding experiment.
I was thinking about the simplest version you could make, and I decided that PVA glue plus baking soda would give a nice white paste. So I mixed up some of that. While doing that I found it's the ingredients of "slime", a DIY kids fun substance.
PVA Glue is a mixture of PVA and a solvent. When the glue dries it just leaves PVA.
Mixing it with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3 ) creates a spreadable paste. Both substances are white. Baking soda by itself is quite heat resistant.Poly(vinyl acetate) (PVA, PVAc, poly(ethenyl ethanoate): best known as wood glue, white glue, carpenter's glue, school glue, Elmer's glue in the US, or PVA glue) is an aliphatic rubbery synthetic polymer with the formula (C4H6O2)n. It belongs to the polyvinyl esters family, with the general formula -[RCOOCHCH2]-. It is a type of thermoplastic. There is considerable confusion between the glue as purchased, an aqueous emulsion of mostly vinyl acetate monomer, and the subsequent dried and polymerized PVAc that is the true thermoplastic polymer.
I also tried it with aluminum oxide. This is grey, and more inert than baking soda.
Here's my current batches. Still wet from the glue, so I will wait until they dry. You can see I gave them a go, but it seems like the solvent in the glue is buring off in the flame, so I need to wait until that evaporates.
Results to come....