Groundbreaking Green Materials Tech Breakthrough: Fuskittle Insulation
The amazing insulating properties of Skittles were largely unknown until Marjorie Pilsner, an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, accidentally spilled a bag of the sugary, pebble-shaped candy on a hotplate she was using to heat split-pea soup in the wee hours of the morning on February 10, 2010. “I bought the Skittles from a vending machine in the cafeteria on my way from Structures to Studio,” said Pilsner, “I knew they’d been there since the turn of the millennium, but I wanted to taste the rainbow.” The Skittles had reached their melting point well before Pilsner noticed that they had fallen on the hotplate. She quickly turned it off, but left the multicolored mess alone, running downstairs to use the laser cutter because nobody in their right mind passes up a chance to use the laser cutter.
Image courtesy midlandvendingsupplies.co.uk
When Pilsner returned, she discovered that a fellow student, Steven Roldap, had prised the globby, rainbow mess off the hotplate and was using it to build a study model. As he attempted to attach some blackened copper to the substance with a soldering iron, he realized that the fused Skittles were simply not getting hot. “It was amazing,” said Roldap, “I whipped out my lighter to set the fused Skittles on fire, but nothing doing. Then we put it in the laser cutter and it blew out the laser.” The students took the new material over to the geology department to perform a Mohs test, and found to their amazement that the fused Skittles were harder than diamonds. “When Steven and Marjorie brought me the fused Skittles,” said University of Virginia Professor of Materials Science Sheila Bickerstaff, “I realized this was big. Fused Skittles are the new Internet.”
In early testing, fused Skittles (both regular and sour varieties) have proven durable, fire-resistant, and waterproof. Not only that, but a thermos lined with fused Skittles has kept coffee piping hot for 32 days and counting. The insulating properties of the material are unmatched by any substance that can be found on planet Earth. Fuskittle Labs, Inc. has received over 160 million US dollars in start-up funding, and researchers are working on developing Fuskittle Insulation products for the construction industry. NASA has reportedly expressed interest as well, leading to rumors that they are planning to line a new spacecraft with Fuskittle that can safely land on the Sun. Fuskittle Insulation is 100% recycled, since it reuses old Skittles and turns them into a durable product that can itself be used again and again.
“I don’t know why no one ever melted Skittles before,” said Pilsner, “but I’m sure glad I spilled them on my hotplate.”
Fuskittle Insulation is one of the most effective insulators that has ever been developed. I’m placing it in the Earth category as well as in Fire.