One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1‘the plane caught fire and disintegrated in the air’
break up, break apart, fall apart, fall to pieces, fall to bits, fragment, fracture, shatter, splinter
rupture, explode, blow up, blow apart, fly apart
crumble, dissolve, collapse, founder, fail, decline, go downhill, go to rack and ruin, degenerate, deteriorate
informal bust, be smashed to smithereens
2‘some plastics will take over 400 years to disintegrate’
break down, decompose, decay, rot, moulder, perish, corrode, deteriorate
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