According to Professor Thomas Engel, after the high-pressure experiment with ethylene gas went awry, little else was left behind except a white, wax-like precipitate in the remains of an autoclave. "It was the heat, pressure and the oxygen acting as a catalyst on the gas that left behind a material, which had properties that would soon change the world of plastics."

Excerpted from "The History and Influence of PEX Pipe on Indoor Environmental Quality" by Robert Bean ©2007