Plastic , polymeric material that has the capability of being molded or shaped, usually by the application of heat and pressure. This property of plasticity , often found in combination with other special properties such as low density , low electrical conductivity, transparency, and toughness, allows plastics to be made into a great variety of products. These include tough and lightweight beverage bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate PET , flexible garden hoses made of polyvinyl chloride PVC , insulating food containers made of foamed polystyrene , and shatterproof windows made of polymethyl methacrylate. In this article a brief review of the essential properties of plastics is provided, followed by a more detailed description of their processing into useful products and subsequent recycling. For a fuller understanding of the materials from which plastics are made, see chemistry of industrial polymers. Many of the chemical names of the polymers employed as plastics have become familiar to consumers, although some are better known by their abbreviations or trade names.
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Plastic , polymeric material that has the capability of being molded or shaped, usually by the application of heat and pressure. This property of plasticity , often found in combination with other special properties such as low density , low electrical conductivity, transparency, and toughness, allows plastics to be made into a great variety of products.
These include tough and lightweight beverage bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate PET , flexible garden hoses made of polyvinyl chloride PVC , insulating food containers made of foamed polystyrene , and shatterproof windows made of polymethyl methacrylate. In this article a brief review of the essential properties of plastics is provided, followed by a more detailed description of their processing into useful products and subsequent recycling.
For a fuller understanding of the materials from which plastics are made, see chemistry of industrial polymers. Many of the chemical names of the polymers employed as plastics have become familiar to consumers, although some are better known by their abbreviations or trade names. Thus, polyethylene terephthalate and polyvinyl chloride are commonly referred to as PET and PVC, while foamed polystyrene and polymethyl methacrylate are known by their trademarked names, Styrofoam and Plexiglas or Perspex.
The term resin dates from the early years of the plastics industry; it originally referred to naturally occurring amorphous solids such as shellac and rosin. Commodity resins are plastics that are produced at high volume and low cost for the most common disposable items and durable goods.
They are represented chiefly by polyethylene , polypropylene , polyvinyl chloride, and polystyrene. Specialty resins are plastics whose properties are tailored to specific applications and that are produced at low volume and higher cost. Among this group are the so-called engineering plastics, or engineering resins, which are plastics that can compete with die-cast metals in plumbing , hardware, and automotive applications.
Important engineering plastics, less familiar to consumers than the commodity plastics listed above, are polyacetal, polyamide particularly those known by the trade name nylon , polytetrafluoroethylene trademark Teflon , polycarbonate , polyphenylene sulfide, epoxy , and polyetheretherketone.
Another member of the specialty resins is thermoplastic elastomers, polymers that have the elastic properties of rubber yet can be molded repeatedly upon heating. Thermoplastic elastomers are described in the article elastomer. Plastics also can be divided into two distinct categories on the basis of their chemical composition. One category is plastics that are made up of polymers having only aliphatic linear carbon atoms in their backbone chains.
All the commodity plastics listed above fall into this category. The structure of polypropylene can serve as an example; here attached to every other carbon atom is a pendant methyl group CH 3 :. The other category of plastics is made up of heterochain polymers. These compounds contain atoms such as oxygen , nitrogen , or sulfur in their backbone chains, in addition to carbon. Most of the engineering plastics listed above are composed of heterochain polymers. An example would be polycarbonate, whose molecules contain two aromatic benzene rings:.
The distinction between carbon-chain and heterochain polymers is reflected in the table, in which selected properties and applications of the most important carbon-chain and heterochain plastics are shown and from which links are provided directly to entries that describe these materials in greater detail. It is important to note that for each polymer type listed in the table there can be many subtypes, since any of a dozen industrial producers of any polymer can offer 20 or 30 different variations for use in specific applications.
For this reason the properties indicated in the table must be taken as approximations. For the purposes of this article, plastics are primarily defined not on the basis of their chemical composition but on the basis of their engineering behaviour.
More specifically, they are defined as either thermoplastic resins or thermosetting resins. Article Media. Info Print Print.
Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Introduction The composition, structure, and properties of plastics The polymers Thermoplastic and thermosetting Physical states and molecular morphologies Properties Additives Plasticizers Colorants Reinforcements Stabilizers The processing and fabrication of plastics Compounding Forming Extrusion Compression molding Injection molding Reaction injection molding Blow molding Casting and dipping Rotational molding Thermoforming and cold molding Foaming Foamed thermoplastics Foamed thermosets Finishing Joining Machining Coating Fibre reinforcement Sandwich laminates Fibreglass Recycling and resource recovery Identification, segregation, gathering Economic recovery of value Degradable plastics.
Plastic chemical compound. Written By: Ferdinand Rodriguez. See Article History. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today. Load Next Page. More About. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students.
Chemistry is the Science Behind Sustainability — the products, technologies and innovations enabled by the chemical industry are essential to a sustainable future. ACC is investing in research to improve understanding of how chemicals impact health and the environment. The agency continues meet key TSCA deadlines and requirements, and marks another milestone in that process. Learn more. A blog of the American Chemistry Council: driving innovation, creating jobs, and enhancing safety.
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The report further sheds light on significant challenges and latest growth strategies adopted by manufacturers who are a part of the competitive spectrum of this business domain. This study presents the Laboratory Plastic Ware production, revenue, market share and growth rate for each key company, and also covers the breakdown data production, consumption, revenue and market share by regions, type and applications. Laboratory plasticware are equipment made up of polymers having variety of applications with respect to laboratory or research centers. The laboratory plasticware market has significantly evolved itself in past few decades in terms of material composition, design and application. Laboratory plasticware encompasses number of advantages such as being unbreakable in nature enhances its applicability with respect to handling radioactive isotopes, hazardous and carcinogenic chemicals or substances. The inherent characteristics of the equipment include environmental friendliness, reusability, thermostability and safety of laboratory personnel in case of accidents has upsurge the global market for laboratory plasticware as compared to the global glassware market in past.
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Bolero Ozon. Plunkett Research, Ltd. The chemicals manufacturing industry is a vibrant, global business that encompasses many important sectors: from commodity chemicals, to specialty chemicals to custom manufacturing. Key products include biochemicals, nanochemicals, polymers, petrochemicals, fertilizers, plastics, coatings, ceramics, solvents, additives, dyes and many other products basic to home and business needs. In addition, the pharmaceuticals industry is often included when discussing chemicals. Our coverage includes business trends analysis and industry statistics. The almanac also contains a chemicals, plastics and coatings business glossary and a listing of industry contacts, such as industry associations and government agencies. Next, we profile hundreds of leading companies.
What are Polymers?
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Bolero Ozon. This well-established and widely adopted text, now in its Sixth Edition, continues to provide a comprehensive coverage of the morphology of the design process. It gives a holistic view of product design, which has inputs from diverse fields such as aesthetics, strength analysis, production design, ergonomics, reliability and quality, Taguchi methods and quality with six sigma, and computer applications. The text discusses the importance and objectives of design for environment and describes the various approaches by which a modern, environment-conscious designer goes about the task of design for environment.
Guide to Manufacturing Processes for Plastics
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Plastics are the most common materials for producing end-use parts and products, for everything from consumer products to medical devices. Plastics are a versatile category of materials, with thousands of polymer options, each with their own specific mechanical properties. But how are plastic parts made? For any designer and engineer working in product development, it is critical to be familiar with the manufacturing options available today and the new developments that signal how parts will be made tomorrow.
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