WHAT IS ELASTICITY? Different materials can withstand different amounts of deformation, a property known as elasticity. Most materials are elastic to some degree: when they are deformed or bent by an infusion of incoming energy, they will bounce back to their original shape. But elastic materials all have their limits. Traditional soft plastic fishing lures have a very low threshold and will snap or tear when only slightly deformed. The new types of soft plastic lures are reinforced to be stronger by braiding microfibers into the plastic. This technique had not been used with soft material before, but is used to construct aircraft and high tech bicycle frames.
WHAT ARE PHTHALATES: Most traditional soft plastic lures are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). To make PVC flexible, manufacturers add a large portion of plasticizer, a type of material called phthalates, which works its way in-between chains of polymers. This allows the long chains to be spaced farther apart, enabling the plastic to obtain the gummy worm-like consistency of soft bait lures. Concerns over the possible negative impacts of phthalates on health have led California to ban including certain types of toys for kids. Other states and countries have also considered or implemented similar restrictions.
The Materials Research Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.