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Gutta-Percha Description and Chemistry:
Gutta-percha trees are 5–30 meters tall with evergreen leaves.
– The material is a polyterpene, a polymer of isoprene, existing in alpha and beta forms.
Gutta-percha crystallizes, leading to a more rigid material.
– It was historically used for various items by natives and introduced to the West by William Montgomerie.

Gutta-Percha Uses:
– Historically, it was important for manufacturing underwater telegraph cables.
– Used for various domestic and industrial purposes in the 19th century.
– Biologically inert and a good electrical insulator.
– Major constituent of insulating sealants for telegraph cables.
– Used in furniture, mourning jewelry, utensils, and revolutionized golf balls in the past.

Gutta-Percha in Electrical Applications:
– Discovered by Michael Faraday as an insulator in 1843.
– Dielectric constant of 2.7 and a power factor of 0.001 at 25°C.
– Resistivity of 1 x 10^13 ohm-cm.
– Supplanted by polyethylene as an electrical insulator since 1940.

Modern Uses of Gutta-Percha:
– Used in silk painting and newer forms of batik for art.
– Predominant material for filling root canals in dentistry.
– Zinc oxide added to reduce brittleness.
– Barium sulfate added for radiopacity in dental X-ray images.

Related Publications and Books:
– “From Deep Sea to Laboratory 1: The First Explorations of the Deep Sea by H.M.S. Challenger (1872-1876)” documents significant marine science explorations.
– “Great Exhibition (1851) Reports by the Juries” covers various subjects from the 1851 exhibition.
– “Widows Weeds and Weeping Veils: Mourning Rituals in 19th Century America” by Bernadette Loeffel-Atkins focuses on mourning rituals.
– “Politics and America in Crisis: The Coming of the Civil War” by Michael S. Green provides insights into the lead-up to the Civil War.

Gutta-percha (Wikipedia)

Gutta-percha is a tree of the genus Palaquium in the family Sapotaceae. The name also refers to the rigid, naturally biologically inert, resilient, electrically nonconductive, thermoplastic latex derived from the tree, particularly from Palaquium gutta; it is a polymer of isoprene which forms a rubber-like elastomer.

Palaquium gutta

The word "gutta-percha" comes from the plant's name in Malay: getah translates as "latex" and percha (perca) means "scrap" or "rag".

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