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I used acetone on the back of my monitor to get rid of old stickers from LED strips. However it severely damaged my monitor. Anyway to undo this or repair it?

Picture of damaged monitor

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  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by "severely damaged" If it's only plastic damaged then it's like non-issue, but if electronics got damaged then it's not the site for it? $\endgroup$ – Mithoron May 22 '17 at 20:30
  • $\begingroup$ Its the plastic, was wondering if I could reverse my mistake, but seems that i have to respray it $\endgroup$ – Wybrem May 22 '17 at 21:11
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    $\begingroup$ The short answer is no. $\endgroup$ – Todd Minehardt May 22 '17 at 22:28
  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Does acetone eat through Thermoplastic polyurethane and Polycarbonate $\endgroup$ – pentavalentcarbon May 29 '17 at 3:37
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Acetone is quite good at dissolving polymers. Do not use acetone on plastic before checking out whether that plastic can withstand acetone.

Let it dry for a couple hours. Try turning it on again. If it does turn on, good. If not, you're pretty much screwed.

However from what I can see from the picture you didn't really damage anything vital. You can try to polish the rough surface again, but I doubt you would get any good results.

If it does turn on, I would cover up the ugly parts with black tape or something and be happy I don't have to buy a new screen.

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  • $\begingroup$ The monitor works fine indeed, was hoping to fix the ugly back now, i used nail polish remover, i read that the white stains could be some oils, it's weird that it is only white on the sides while i used it in the middle as well. $\endgroup$ – Wybrem May 22 '17 at 14:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Wybrem you probably have a white material under your black material. I would refrain from doing any more abrasive or dissolving work and count my blesses to be honest. $\endgroup$ – Fl.pf. May 22 '17 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ Yee seems to be that, I'm going to respray the monitor as I can't live with this, thanks for the help :D $\endgroup$ – Wybrem May 22 '17 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Wybrem if you feel your question has been answered you should check that answer as "accepted" so others know the question has been answered and doesn't need attention anymore. $\endgroup$ – Fl.pf. May 23 '17 at 8:47
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I think ethanol might be a better option in the future! That's some pretty amazing dissolving power though. As Fl.pf has suggested, black tape would help cover up the worst of the damage.

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    $\begingroup$ Black permanent marker might look marginally better than black tape. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin May 22 '17 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ If you want to see "amazing dissolving power" try a similar experiment, but substitute acetone for dicloromethane.... many a mechanical pencil has been lost in my lab, melted by my messy ways $\endgroup$ – MadisonCooper May 22 '17 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks guys, I'ma repaint the monitor. I removed the rest of the sticky stuff with WD-40.. This is what it looks like now puu.sh/vYpcx/5c17f73cf8.png $\endgroup$ – Wybrem May 22 '17 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Wybrem It is similar like with a suit, a good pair of trousers, a fine dress, a couch: try first at a spot where if something goes wrong won't hurt (this) much. (At least for three first you may get a little patch to try out safely.) For polymers, you often see some marks (like PE, PP, for example) that you find in guiding resistance charts like plasticsintl.com/plastics_chemical_resistence_chart.html again. $\endgroup$ – Buttonwood May 22 '17 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ With WD-40 you have a good chance of crazing the surface even more. Use isoprop or ethanol. $\endgroup$ – Karl May 22 '17 at 21:42
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I was taking stickers off a casetter player and I thought nail polish remover would do a better job than alcohol in taking off the residue (stupid I know now). After like 3 coats of headlight restorer the plastic went back to its clear state and i’m so happy that it worked out. I have no idea how it would do on other plastic or what residue headlight restorer would leave but I used it on clear plastic. It’s worth a try though.

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To understand what to do you have to understand what the plastic is and what has happened. typically cases for electronics are a fiberglass-ABS composite resin. This is a cheap mixture that has a high mechanical resilience to fracture and reduces combustibility.

When the plastic is cast at the factory it is forced into a mold and rapidly cooled. This process causes the polymer molecules to retain a high degree of internal stress. The part however is smooth because of the surface of the mold. When you use acetone on ABS, you soften is and allow these polymer molecules to partially relax the stress resulting in a rough surface as the residual stress pulls molecules together creating a rough surface (this is a bit simplified). Also you have dissolved and wiped away the dyes that make the plastic black at the surface.

To restore the finish you can attempt to mechanically buff the surface to make it smooth again but the underlying fiber glass may be an issue. Using nail polish may be another way but this is more to make it look less bad than good again.

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I have read elsewhere that toothpaste or Brasso might do the job. But have not tried it. I like the sound of automobile headlight restorer better.

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protected by orthocresol Apr 22 '18 at 22:05

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