Powered by
Share this page on
Article provided by Wikipedia

Household items made of various types of plastic
"IUPAC definition
Generic term used in the case of polymeric material that may contain other substances to improve performance or reduce costs.

Note 1: The use of this term instead of "polymer is a source of confusion and thus is not recommended.

Note 2: This term is used in polymer engineering for materials often compounded that can be processed by flow.[1]

Plastic is material consisting of any of a wide range of "synthetic or semi-synthetic "organic compounds that are "malleable and so can be "molded into solid objects.

"Plasticity is the general property of all materials which can deform irreversibly without breaking but, in the class of moldable "polymers, this occurs to such a degree that their actual name derives from this specific ability.

Plastics are typically "organic polymers of high "molecular mass and often contain other substances. They are usually synthetic, most commonly derived from "petrochemicals, however, an array of variants are made from renewable materials such as polylactic acid from corn or cellulosics from cotton linters.[2]

Due to their low cost, ease of manufacture, versatility, and imperviousness to water, plastics are used in a multitude of products of different scale, including paper clips and spacecraft. They have prevailed over traditional materials, such as "wood, "stone, "horn and "bone, "leather, "metal, "glass, and "ceramic, in some products previously left to natural materials.

In developed economies, about a third of plastic is used in packaging and roughly the same in buildings in applications such as "piping, "plumbing or "vinyl siding.[3] Other uses include automobiles (up to 20% plastic[3]), furniture, and toys.[3] In the developing world, the applications of plastic may differ — 42% of India's consumption is used in packaging.[3]

Plastics have many uses in the medical field as well, with the introduction of polymer implants and other medical devices derived at least partially from plastic. The field of "plastic surgery is not named for use of plastic materials, but rather the meaning of the word plasticity, with regard to the reshaping of flesh.

The world's first fully synthetic plastic was "bakelite, invented in New York in 1907 by "Leo Baekeland[4] who coined the term 'plastics'.[5] Many chemists have contributed to the "materials science of plastics, including "Nobel laureate "Hermann Staudinger who has been called "the father of "polymer chemistry" and "Herman Mark, known as "the father of "polymer physics".[6]

The success and dominance of plastics starting in the early 20th century led to environmental concerns regarding its slow decomposition rate after being discarded as trash due to its composition of large molecules. Toward the end of the century, one approach to this problem was met with wide efforts toward "recycling.



The word plastic derives from the "Greek πλαστικός (plastikos) meaning "capable of being shaped or molded" and, in turn, from πλαστός (plastos) meaning "molded".[7][8]

The "plasticity, or malleability, of the material during manufacture allows it to be "cast, "pressed, or "extruded into a variety of shapes, such as: "films, "fibers, plates, tubes, bottles, boxes, amongst many others.

The common noun plastic should not be confused with the technical adjective plastic. The adjective is applicable to any material which undergoes a "plastic deformation, or permanent change of shape, when strained beyond a certain point. For example, "aluminum which is stamped or forged exhibits plasticity in this sense, but is not plastic in the common sense. By contrast, some plastics will, in their finished forms, break before deforming and therefore are not plastic in the technical sense.


Most plastics contain "organic polymers.[9] The vast majority of these "polymers are formed from chains of "carbon atoms, 'pure' or with the addition of: "oxygen, "nitrogen, or "sulfur. The chains comprise many "repeat units, formed from "monomers. Each polymer chain will have several thousand "repeating units.

The "backbone is the part of the chain that is on the "main path", linking together a large number of "repeat units.

To customize the properties of a plastic, different molecular groups "hang" from this backbone. These pendant units are usually "hung" on the "monomers, before the monomers themselves are linked together to form the polymer chain. It is the structure of these "side chains that influences the properties of the polymer.

The molecular structure of the "repeating unit can be fine tuned to influence specific properties in the polymer.

Properties and classifications[edit]

Plastics are usually classified by: the "chemical structure of the polymer's "backbone and "side chains; some important groups in these classifications are: the "acrylics, "polyesters, "silicones, "polyurethanes, and "halogenated plastics.

Plastics can also be classified by: the chemical process used in their synthesis, such as: "condensation, "polyaddition, and "cross-linking.[10]

Plastics can also be classified by: their various "physical properties, such as: "hardness, "density, "tensile strength, resistance to heat and "glass transition temperature, and by their "chemical properties, such as the organic chemistry of the polymer and its resistance and reaction to various chemical products and processes, such as: organic solvents, "oxidation, and "ionizing radiation. In particular, most plastics will melt upon heating to a few hundred degrees "celsius.[11]

Other classifications are based on qualities that are relevant for manufacturing or "product design. Examples of such qualities and classes are: thermoplastics and thermosets, "conductive polymers, "biodegradable plastics and "engineering plastics and other plastics with particular structures, such as "elastomers.

Thermoplastics and thermosetting polymers[edit]

The plastic handle of a "spatula that has been deformed by heat.

One important classification of plastics is by the permanence or impermanence of their form, or whether they are: "thermoplastics or "thermosetting polymers. Thermoplastics are the plastics that, when heated, do not undergo chemical change in their composition and so can be molded again and again. Examples include: "polyethylene (PE), "polypropylene (PP), "polystyrene (PS) and "polyvinyl chloride (PVC).[12] Common thermoplastics range from 20,000 to 500,000 "amu, while thermosets are assumed to have infinite molecular weight.

Thermosets, or thermosetting polymers, can melt and take shape only once: after they have solidified, they stay solid.[13] In the thermosetting process, a chemical reaction occurs that is irreversible. The vulcanization of rubber is an example of a thermosetting process: before heating with sulfur, the polyisoprene is a tacky, slightly runny material; after vulcanization, the product is rigid and non-tacky.

Amorphous plastics and crystalline plastics[edit]

Many plastics are completely amorphous,[14] such as: all thermosets; polystyrene and its copolymers; and poly"methyl methacrylate.

However, some plastics are partially "crystalline and partially "amorphous in "molecular structure, giving them both a "melting point, the temperature at which the attractive "intermolecular forces are overcome, and also one or more glass transitions, the temperatures above which the extent of localized molecular flexibility is substantially increased. These so-called "semi-crystalline plastics include: polyethylene, polypropylene, poly"vinyl chloride, polyamides (nylons), polyesters and some polyurethanes.

Conductive polymers[edit]

"Intrinsically Conducting Polymers (ICP) are organic polymers that conduct electricity. While plastics can be made electrically conductive, with a conductivity of up to 80 kS/cm in stretch-oriented "polyacetylene,[15] they are still no match for most metals like "copper which have a conductivity of several hundred kS/cm. Nevertheless, this is a developing field.

Biodegradable plastics and bioplastics[edit]

"Biodegradable plastics are plastics that degrade, or break down, upon exposure to: sunlight or "ultra-violet radiation, water or dampness, bacteria, enzymes or wind abrasion. In some instances, rodent, pest, or insect attack can also be considered as forms of "biodegradation or "environmental degradation.

Some modes of degradation require that the plastic be exposed at the surface ("aerobic), whereas other modes will only be effective if certain conditions exist in landfill or composting systems ("anaerobic).

Some companies produce "biodegradable additives, to enhance biodegradation. Plastic can have "starch powder added as a filler to allow it to degrade more easily, but this still does not lead to the complete breaking down of the plastic.

Some researchers have "genetically engineered bacteria to synthesize completely biodegradable plastics, such as "Biopol; however, these are expensive at present.[16]


While most plastics are produced from "petrochemicals, "bioplastics are made substantially from renewable plant materials such: as cellulose and starch.[17] Due both to the finite limits of the petrochemical reserves and to the threat of "global warming, the development of bioplastics is a growing field.

However, bioplastic development begins from a very low base and, as yet, does not compare significantly with petrochemical production. Estimates of the global production capacity for bio-derived materials is put at 327,000 tonnes/year. In contrast, global production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), the world’s leading petrochemical derived polyolefins, was estimated at over 150 million tonnes in 2015.[18]


Common plastics[edit]

A chair with a polypropylene seat
"iPhone 5c, a smartphone with a "polycarbonate unibody shell

This category includes both "commodity plastics, or standard plastics, and "engineering plastics.

Specialist plastics[edit]


Plastic (LDPE) bowl, by GEECO, Made in England, c. 1950

The development of plastics has evolved from the use of natural plastic materials (e.g., "chewing gum, "shellac) to the use of chemically modified, natural materials (e.g., "natural rubber, "nitrocellulose, "collagen, "galalite) and finally to completely synthetic molecules (e.g., "bakelite, "epoxy, "polyvinyl chloride). Early plastics were bio-derived materials such as egg and blood proteins, which are "organic polymers. In 1600 BC, "Mesoamericans used natural rubber for balls, bands, and figurines.[3] Treated cattle horns were used as windows for lanterns in the "Middle Ages. Materials that mimicked the properties of horns were developed by treating milk-proteins ("casein) with lye.

In the 1800s, as "industrial chemistry developed during the "Industrial Revolution, many materials were reported. The development of plastics also accelerated with "Charles Goodyear's discovery of "vulcanization to thermoset materials derived from natural rubber.

"Blue plaque commemorating Parkes on the Birmingham Science Museum.

"Parkesine ("nitrocellulose) is considered the first man-made plastic. The plastic material was patented by "Alexander Parkes, in "Birmingham, England in 1856.[19] It was unveiled at "the 1862 Great International Exhibition in "London.[20] Parkesine won a bronze medal at the 1862 "World's fair in "London. Parkesine was made from "cellulose (the major component of plant cell walls) treated with "nitric acid as a solvent. The output of the process (commonly known as cellulose nitrate or pyroxilin) could be dissolved in "alcohol and hardened into a transparent and elastic material that could be molded when heated.[21] By incorporating pigments into the product, it could be made to resemble "ivory.

In 1897, the Hanover, Germany mass printing press owner Wilhelm Krische was commissioned to develop an alternative to blackboards.[22] The resultant horn-like plastic made from the milk protein casein was developed in cooperation with the Austrian chemist (Friedrich) Adolph Spitteler (1846–1940). The final result was unsuitable for the original purpose.[23] In 1893, French chemist Auguste Trillat discovered the means to insolubilize casein by immersion in formaldehyde, producing material marketed as "galalith.[22]

In the early 1900s, "Bakelite, the first fully synthetic thermoset, was reported by Belgian chemist "Leo Baekeland by using phenol and formaldehyde.

After "World War I, improvements in chemical technology led to an explosion in new forms of plastics, with mass production beginning in the 1940s and 1950s (around "World War II).[24] Among the earliest examples in the wave of new polymers were "polystyrene (PS), first produced by "BASF in the 1930s,[3] and "polyvinyl chloride (PVC), first created in 1872 but commercially produced in the late 1920s.[3] In 1923, Durite Plastics Inc. was the first manufacturer of phenol-furfural resins.[25] In 1933, "polyethylene was discovered by "Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) researchers Reginald Gibson and Eric Fawcett.[3]

In 1954, "polypropylene was discovered by "Giulio Natta and began to be manufactured in 1957.[3]

In 1954, expanded polystyrene (used for building insulation, packaging, and cups) was invented by "Dow Chemical.[3] "Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)'s discovery is credited to employees of the "Calico Printers' Association in the UK in 1941; it was licensed to "DuPont for the USA and ICI otherwise, and as one of the few plastics appropriate as a replacement for glass in many circumstances, resulting in widespread use for bottles in Europe.[3]

Plastics industry[edit]

Plastics manufacturing is a major part of the chemical industry, and some of the world's "largest chemical companies have been involved since the earliest days, such as the industry leaders "BASF and "Dow Chemical.

In 2014, sales of the top fifty companies amounted to "US$961,300,000,000.[26] The firms came from some eighteen countries in total, with more than half of the companies on the list being headquartered in the US. Many of the top fifty plastics companies were concentrated in just three countries:

"BASF was the world's largest chemical producer for the ninth year in a row.[26]

Trade associations which represent the industry in the US include the "American Chemistry Council.

Industry standards[edit]

Many of the properties of plastics are determined by standards specified by "ISO, such as:

Many of the properties of plastics are determined by the UL Standards, tests specified by "Underwriters Laboratories (UL), such as:


Blended into most plastics are additional organic or "inorganic compounds . The average content of additives is a few percent. Many of the controversies associated with plastics actually relate to the additives:[27] "organotin compounds are particularly toxic.[28]

Typical additives include:


"Stabilizers prolong the lifetime of the polymer by suppressing degradation that results from UV-light, oxidation, and other phenomena. Typical stabilzers thus absorb UV light or function as antioxidants.


Many plastics["citation needed] contain "fillers, to improve performance or reduce production costs.[29] Typically fillers are mineral in origin, e.g., "chalk. Other fillers include: "starch, "cellulose, "wood flour, ivory dust and "zinc oxide.


"Plasticizers are, by mass, often the most abundant additives.[28] These oily but nonvolatile compounds are blended in to plastics to improve "rheology, as many organic polymers are otherwise too rigid for particular applications.

"Dioctyl phthalate is the most common "plasticizer.


"Colorants are another common additive, though their weight contribution is small.


Pure plastics have low toxicity due to their insolubility in water and because they are biochemically inert, due to a large molecular weight. Plastic products contain a variety of additives, some of which can be toxic. For example, "plasticizers like "adipates and "phthalates are often added to brittle plastics like polyvinyl chloride to make them pliable enough for use in food packaging, "toys, and many other items. Traces of these compounds can leach out of the product. Owing to concerns over the effects of such leachates, the "European Union has restricted the use of "DEHP (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate) and other phthalates in some applications, and the United States has limited the use of DEHP, "DPB, "BBP, "DINP, "DIDP, and DnOP in children's toys and child care articles with the "Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Some compounds leaching from polystyrene food containers have been proposed to interfere with hormone functions and are suspected human carcinogens.[31] Other chemicals of potential concern include "alkylphenols.[28]

Whereas the finished plastic may be non-toxic, the monomers used in the manufacture of the parent polymers may be toxic. In some cases, small amounts of those chemicals can remain trapped in the product unless suitable processing is employed. For example, the "World Health Organization's "International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has recognized "vinyl chloride, the precursor to PVC, as a human "carcinogen.[31]

Bisphenol A (BPA)[edit]

Some polymers may also decompose into the monomers or other toxic substances when heated. In 2011, it was reported that "almost all plastic products" sampled released chemicals with estrogenic activity, although the researchers identified plastics which did not leach chemicals with estrogenic activity.[32]

The primary building block of "polycarbonates, "bisphenol A (BPA), is an "estrogen-like "endocrine disruptor that may leach into food.[31] Research in "Environmental Health Perspectives finds that BPA leached from the lining of tin cans, "dental sealants and polycarbonate bottles can increase body weight of lab animals' offspring.[33] A more recent animal study suggests that even low-level exposure to BPA results in insulin resistance, which can lead to inflammation and heart disease.[34]

As of January 2010, the LA Times newspaper reports that the United States FDA is spending $30 million to investigate indications of BPA being linked to cancer.[35]

"Bis(2-ethylhexyl) adipate, present in "plastic wrap based on PVC, is also of concern, as are the "volatile organic compounds present in "new car smell.

The European Union has a permanent ban on the use of "phthalates in toys. In 2009, the United States government banned certain types of phthalates commonly used in plastic.[36]

Environmental effects[edit]

Most plastics are durable and "degrade very slowly; the very chemical bonds that make them so durable tend to make them resistant to most natural processes of degradation. However, microbial species and communities capable of degrading plastics are discovered from time to time, and some show promise as being useful for bioremediating certain classes of plastic waste.

Since the 1950s, one billion tons of plastic have been discarded and some of that material might persist for centuries or much longer, as is demonstrated by the persistence of natural materials such as amber.[59] Others estimate a cumulative human production of 8.3 billion tons of plastic of which 6.3 billion tons is waste with a recycling rate of only 9%.[60]

Serious environmental threats from plastic have been suggested in the light of the increasing presence of "microplastics in the marine food chain along with many highly toxic chemical pollutants that accumulate in plastics. They also accumulate in larger fragmented pieces of plastic called "nurdles.[61] In the 1960s the latter were observed in the guts of seabirds, and since then have been found in increasing concentration.[62] In 2009, it was estimated that 10% of modern waste was plastics,[24] although estimates vary according to region.[62] Meanwhile, 50-80% of debris in marine areas is plastic.[62]

Before the ban on the use of "CFCs in extrusion of polystyrene (and in general use, except in life-critical fire suppression systems; see "Montreal Protocol), the production of polystyrene contributed to the depletion of the "ozone layer, but current extrusion processes use non-CFCs.

Climate change[edit]

The effect of plastics on global warming is mixed. Plastics are generally made from petroleum. If the plastic is incinerated, it increases carbon emissions; if it is placed in a landfill, it becomes a carbon sink[63] although biodegradable plastics have caused "methane emissions. [64] Due to the lightness of plastic versus glass or metal, plastic may reduce energy consumption. For example, packaging beverages in PET plastic rather than glass or metal is estimated to save 52% in transportation energy.[3]

Production of plastics[edit]

Production of plastics from crude oil requires 62 to 108 MJ/Kg (taking into account the average efficiency of US utility stations of 35%). Producing silicon and semiconductors for modern electronic equipment is even more energy consuming: 230 to 235 MJ/Kg of silicon, and about 3,000 MJ/Kg of semiconductors.[65] This is much higher than the energy needed to produce many other materials, e.g. iron (from iron ore) requires 20-25 MJ/Kg of energy, glass (from sand, etc.) 18-35 MJ/Kg, steel (from iron) 20-50 MJ/Kg, paper (from timber) 25-50 MJ/Kg.[66]

Incineration of plastics[edit]

Controlled high-temperature "incineration, above 850 °C for two seconds,[67] performed with selective additional heating, breaks down toxic dioxins and furans from burning plastic, and is widely used in municipal solid waste incineration.[67] Municipal solid waste incinerators also normally include flue gas treatments to reduce pollutants further.[67] This is needed because uncontrolled incineration of plastic produces polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, a carcinogen (cancer causing chemical). The problem occurs because the heat content of the waste stream varies.[68] Open-air burning of plastic occurs at lower temperatures, and normally releases such "toxic fumes.

Pyrolytic disposal[edit]

Plastics can be "pyrolyzed into "hydrocarbon fuels, since plastics include hydrogen and carbon. One kilogram of waste plastic produces roughly a liter of hydrocarbon.[69]


Thermoplastics can be remelted and reused, and thermoset plastics can be ground up and used as filler, although the purity of the material tends to degrade with each reuse cycle. There are methods by which plastics can be broken down to a feedstock state.

The greatest challenge to the recycling of plastics is the difficulty of automating the sorting of plastic wastes, making it "labor-intensive. Typically, workers sort the plastic by looking at the resin identification code, although common containers like soda bottles can be sorted from memory. Typically, the caps for PETE bottles are made from a different kind of plastic which is not recyclable, which presents additional problems for the sorting process. Other recyclable materials such as metals are easier to process mechanically. However, new processes of mechanical sorting are being developed to increase the capacity and efficiency of plastic recycling.

While containers are usually made from a single type and color of plastic, making them relatively easy to sort, a consumer product like a cellular phone may have many small parts consisting of over a dozen different types and colors of plastics. In such cases, the resources it would take to separate the plastics far exceed their value and the item is discarded. However, developments are taking place in the field of "active disassembly, which may result in more product components being reused or recycled. Recycling certain types of plastics can be unprofitable as well. For example, polystyrene is rarely recycled because the process is usually not cost effective. These unrecycled wastes are typically disposed of in "landfills, "incinerated or used to produce electricity at "waste-to-energy plants.

An early success in the recycling of plastics is "Vinyloop, an industrial process to separate PVC from other materials through dissolution, filtration and separation of contaminants. A solvent is used in a closed loop to elute PVC from the waste. This makes it possible to recycle composite PVC waste, which is normally incinerated or put in a landfill. Vinyloop-based recycled PVC's primary energy demand is 46 percent lower than conventionally produced PVC. The global warming potential is 39 percent lower. This is why the use of recycled material leads to a significantly better ecological outcome.[70] This process was used after the "Olympic Games in London 2012. Parts of temporary Buildings like the "Water Polo Arena and the "Royal Artillery Barracks were recycled. In this way, the PVC Policy could be fulfilled, which says that no PVC waste should be left after the games had ended.[71]

In 1988, to assist recycling of disposable items, the Plastic Bottle Institute of the U.S. "Society of the Plastics Industry devised a now-familiar scheme to mark plastic bottles by plastic type. Under this scheme, a "plastic container is marked with a triangle of three ""chasing arrows", which encloses a number denoting the plastic type:

""1-PETE ""2–HDPE ""3-PVC ""4-LDPE ""5-PP ""6-PS ""7-Other

Plastics type marks: the "resin identification code[72]
  1. "Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE)
  2. "High-density polyethylene (HDPE)
  3. "Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  4. "Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
  5. "Polypropylene (PP)
  6. "Polystyrene (PS)
  7. Other types of plastic (see list below)

Representative polymers[edit]

Molded plastic food replicas on display outside a restaurant in "Japan
Plastic "piping and "firestops being installed in "Ontario. Certain plastic pipes can be used in some non-combustible buildings, provided they are firestopped properly and that the flame spread ratings comply with the local "building code.


The first plastic based on a synthetic polymer was made from "phenol and "formaldehyde, with the first viable and cheap synthesis methods invented in 1907, by "Leo Hendrik Baekeland, a "Belgian-born American living in "New York state. Baekeland was looking for an insulating shellac to coat wires in electric motors and generators. He found that combining phenol (C6H5OH) and formaldehyde (HCOH) formed a sticky mass and later found that the material could be mixed with wood flour, asbestos, or slate dust to create strong and fire resistant "composite" materials. The new material tended to foam during synthesis, requiring that Baekeland build pressure vessels to force out the bubbles and provide a smooth, uniform product, as he announced in 1909, in a meeting of the American Chemical Society.[73] Bakelite was originally used for electrical and mechanical parts, coming into widespread use in consumer goods and jewelry in the 1920s. Bakelite was a purely synthetic material, not derived from living matter. It was also an early thermosetting plastic.


Styrene polymerization

Unplasticised polystyrene is a rigid, brittle, inexpensive plastic that has been used to make "plastic model kits and similar knick-knacks. It also is the basis for some of the most popular "foamed" plastics, under the name styrene foam or "Styrofoam. Like most other foam plastics, foamed polystyrene can be manufactured in an "open cell" form, in which the foam bubbles are interconnected, as in an absorbent sponge, and "closed cell", in which all the bubbles are distinct, like tiny balloons, as in gas-filled foam insulation and flotation devices. In the late 1950s, high impact styrene was introduced, which was not brittle. It finds much current use as the substance of toy figurines and novelties.

Polyvinyl chloride[edit]

Vinylchloride polymerization

"Polyvinyl chloride (PVC, commonly called "vinyl")[74] incorporates chlorine atoms. The C-Cl bonds in the backbone are hydrophobic and resist oxidation (and burning). PVC is stiff, strong, heat and weather resistant, properties that recommend its use in devices for "plumbing, gutters, house siding, enclosures for computers and other electronics gear. PVC can also be softened with chemical processing, and in this form it is now used for "shrink-wrap, food packaging, and rain gear.

All PVC polymers are degraded by heat and light. When this happens, hydrogen chloride is released into the atmosphere and oxidation of the compound occurs.[75] Because hydrogen chloride readily combines with water vapor in the air to form hydrochloric acid,[76] polyvinyl chloride is not recommended for long-term archival storage of silver, photographic film or paper ("mylar is preferable).[77]


The plastics industry was revolutionized in the 1930s with the announcement of "polyamide (PA), far better known by its trade name nylon. Nylon was the first purely synthetic fiber, introduced by "DuPont Corporation at the "1939 World's Fair in "New York City.

In 1927, DuPont had begun a secret development project designated Fiber66, under the direction of Harvard chemist "Wallace Carothers and chemistry department director "Elmer Keiser Bolton. Carothers had been hired to perform pure research, and he worked to understand the new materials' molecular structure and physical properties. He took some of the first steps in the molecular design of the materials.

His work led to the discovery of synthetic nylon fiber, which was very strong but also very flexible. The first application was for bristles for "toothbrushes. However, Du Pont's real target was "silk, particularly silk "stockings. Carothers and his team synthesized a number of different polyamides including polyamide 6.6 and 4.6, as well as polyesters.[78]

General condensation polymerization reaction for nylon

It took DuPont twelve years and US$27 million to refine nylon, and to synthesize and develop the industrial processes for bulk manufacture. With such a major investment, it was no surprise that Du Pont spared little expense to promote nylon after its introduction, creating a public sensation, or "nylon mania".

Nylon mania came to an abrupt stop at the end of 1941 when the USA entered "World War II. The production capacity that had been built up to produce "nylon stockings, or just nylons, for American women was taken over to manufacture vast numbers of parachutes for fliers and paratroopers. After the war ended, DuPont went back to selling nylon to the public, engaging in another promotional campaign in 1946 that resulted in an even bigger craze, triggering the so-called "nylon riots.

Subsequently, polyamides 6, 10, 11, and 12 have been developed based on monomers which are ring compounds; e.g. "caprolactam. Nylon 66 is a material manufactured by "condensation polymerization.

Nylons still remain important plastics, and not just for use in fabrics. In its bulk form it is very wear resistant, particularly if oil-impregnated, and so is used to build gears, "plain bearings, valve seats, seals and because of good heat-resistance, increasingly for under-the-hood applications in cars, and other mechanical parts.

Poly(methyl methacrylate)[edit]

Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), also known as acrylic or acrylic glass as well as by the trade names Plexiglas, Acrylite, Lucite, and Perspex among several others (see below), is a "transparent "thermoplastic often used in sheet form as a lightweight or shatter-resistant alternative to "glass. The same material can be utilised as a casting resin, in inks and coatings, and has many other uses.


"Natural rubber is an elastomer (an elastic hydrocarbon polymer) that originally was derived from "latex, a milky "colloidal suspension found in specialised vessels in some plants. It is useful directly in this form (indeed, the first appearance of rubber in Europe was cloth waterproofed with unvulcanized latex from Brazil). However, in 1839, "Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber; a form of natural rubber heated with sulfur (and a few other chemicals), forming cross-links between polymer chains ("vulcanization), improving elasticity and durability.

In 1851, Nelson Goodyear added fillers to natural rubber materials to form "ebonite.[30]

Synthetic rubber[edit]

The first fully synthetic rubber was synthesized by "Sergei Lebedev in 1910. In World War II, supply blockades of natural rubber from "South East Asia caused a boom in development of synthetic rubber, notably "styrene-butadiene rubber. In 1941, annual production of synthetic rubber in the U.S. was only 231 tonnes which increased to 840,000 tonnes in 1945. In the "space race and "nuclear arms race, "Caltech researchers experimented with using synthetic rubbers for solid fuel for rockets. Ultimately, all large military rockets and missiles would use synthetic rubber based solid fuels, and they would also play a significant part in the civilian space effort.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Vert, Michel; Doi, Yoshiharu; Hellwich, Karl-Heinz; Hess, Michael; Hodge, Philip; Kubisa, Przemyslaw; Rinaudo, Marguerite; Schué, François (2012). "Terminology for biorelated polymers and applications (IUPAC Recommendations 2012)" (PDF). "Pure and Applied Chemistry. 84 (2): 377–410. "doi:10.1351/PAC-REC-10-12-04. 
  2. ^ Life cycle of a plastic product. Americanchemistry.com. Retrieved on 2011-07-01.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Andrady AL, Neal MA (July 2009). "Applications and societal benefits of plastics". Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. 364 (1526): 1977–84. "doi:10.1098/rstb.2008.0304. "PMC 2873019Freely accessible. "PMID 19528050. 
  4. ^ American Chemical Society National Historic Chemical Landmarks. "Bakelite: The World's First Synthetic Plastic". Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Edgar, David; Edgar, Robin (1 January 2009). "Fantastic Recycled Plastic: 30 Clever Creations to Spark Your Imagination". Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. – via Google Books. 
  6. ^ Teegarden, David M. (1 January 2004). "Polymer Chemistry: Introduction to an Indispensable Science". NSTA Press – via Google Books. 
  7. ^ Plastikos, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, at Perseus. Perseus.tufts.edu. Retrieved on 2011-07-01.
  8. ^ Plastic, Online Etymology Dictionary. Etymonline.com. Retrieved on 2011-07-01.
  9. ^ Ebbing, Darrell; Gammon, Steven D. (2016-01-01). General Chemistry. Cengage Learning. "ISBN "9781305887299. 
  10. ^ Classification of Plastics Archived 2007-12-15 at the "Wayback Machine.. Dwb.unl.edu. Retrieved on 2011-07-01.
  11. ^ Periodic Table of Polymers Dr Robin Kent – Tangram Technology Ltd.
  12. ^ Composition and Types of Plastic Inforplease website
  13. ^ Gilleo, Ken (2004). Area Packaging Processes: For BGA, Flip Chip, and CSP. McGraw Hill Professional. "ISBN "9780071428293. 
  14. ^ Kutz, Myer (2002-07-22). Handbook of Materials Selection. John Wiley & Sons. "ISBN "9780471359241. 
  15. ^ Heeger, A. J.; Schrieffer, J. R.; Su, W. -P.; Su, W. (1988). "Solitons in conducting polymers". Reviews of Modern Physics. 60 (3): 781–850. "Bibcode:1988RvMP...60..781H. "doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.60.781. 
  16. ^ Brandl, Helmut; Püchner, Petra (1992). "Biodegradation Biodegradation of plastic bottles made from 'Biopol' in an aquatic ecosystem under in situ conditions". Biodegradation. 2 (4): 237–243. "doi:10.1007/BF00114555. 
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2011-03-24. 
  18. ^ Galie, Fabrizio (November 2016). "Global Market Trends and Investments in Polyethylene and Polyproplyene" (PDF). ICIS Whitepaper. Reed business Information, Inc. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  19. ^ UK Patent office (1857). Patents for inventions. UK Patent office. p. 255. 
  20. ^ Fenichell, Stephen (1996). Plastic : the making of a synthetic century. New York: HarperBusiness. p. 17. "ISBN "0-88730-732-9. 
  21. ^ "Dictionary – Definition of celluloid". Websters-online-dictionary.org. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  22. ^ a b Christel Trimborn (August 2004). "Jewelry Stone Make of Milk". GZ Art+Design. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  23. ^ Trimborn, Christel (August 2004). "Jewelry Stone Make of Milk". GZ Art+Design. 
  24. ^ a b Thompson RC, Swan SH, Moore CJ, vom Saal FS (July 2009). "Our plastic age". Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. 364 (1526): 1973–6. "doi:10.1098/rstb.2009.0054. "PMC 2874019Freely accessible. "PMID 19528049. 
  25. ^ "Historical Overview and Industrial Development". International Furan Chemicals, Inc. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  26. ^ a b Tullo, Alexander H. (27 July 2015). "Global Top 50 Chemical Companies". Chemical & Engineering News. "American Chemical Society. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  27. ^ Hans-Georg Elias "Plastics, General Survey" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, 2005, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. "doi:10.1002/14356007.a20_543
  28. ^ a b c Teuten EL, Saquing JM, Knappe DR, et al. (July 2009). "Transport and release of chemicals from plastics to the environment and to wildlife". Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. 364 (1526): 2027–45. "doi:10.1098/rstb.2008.0284. "PMC 2873017Freely accessible. "PMID 19528054. 
  29. ^ Kulshreshtha, A. K.; Vasile, Cornelia (2002). Handbook of Polymer Blends and Composites. iSmithers Rapra Publishing. "ISBN "9781859572498. 
  30. ^ a b Seymour, Raymond Benedict; Deaning, Rudolph D. (1987). History of Polymeric Composites. VSP. p. 374. 
  31. ^ a b c McRandle, P.W. (March–April 2004). "Plastic Water Bottles". "National Geographic. Retrieved 2007-11-13. 
  32. ^ Yang, Chun Z.; Yaniger, Stuart I.; Jordan, V. Craig; Klein, Daniel J.; Bittner, George D. (2 March 2011). "Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved". Environmental Health Perspectives. 119 (7): 989–996. "doi:10.1289/ehp.1003220. "PMC 3222987Freely accessible. "PMID 21367689. 
  33. ^ Rubin, BS; Murray, MK; Damassa, DA; King, JC; Soto, AM (July 2001). "Perinatal exposure to low doses of bisphenol A affects body weight, patterns of estrous cyclicity, and plasma LH levels". Environmental Health Perspectives. 109 (7): 675–80. "doi:10.2307/3454783. "PMC 1240370Freely accessible. "PMID 11485865. 
  34. ^ Alonso-Magdalena, Paloma; Morimoto, Sumiko; Ripoll, Cristina; Fuentes, Esther; Nadal, Angel (January 2006). "The Estrogenic Effect of Bisphenol A Disrupts Pancreatic β-Cell Function In Vivo and Induces Insulin Resistance". Environmental Health Perspectives. 114 (1): 106–112. "doi:10.1289/ehp.8451. "PMC 1332664Freely accessible. "PMID 16393666. 
  35. ^ Andrew Zajac FDA issues BPA guidelines, Los Angeles Times, January 16, 2010
  36. ^ Lisa Wade McCormick More Kids' Products Found Containing Unsafe Chemicals, ConsumerAffairs.com, October 30, 2009
  37. ^ Kinoshita, S.; Kageyama, S., Iba, K., Yamada, Y. and Okada, H. (1975). "Utilization of a cyclic dimer and linear oligomers of e-aminocaproic acid by Achromobacter guttatus". Agricultural and Biological Chemistry. 39 (6): 1219–23. "doi:10.1271/bbb1961.39.1219. "ISSN 0002-1369. 
  38. ^ a b "Yutaka Tokiwa; Buenaventurada P. Calabia; Seiichi Aiba (September 2009). "Biodegradability of Plastics". International Journal of Molecular Science. 10 (9): 3722–3744. "doi:10.3390/ijms10093722. "PMC 2769161Freely accessible. "PMID 19865515. 
  39. ^ Jonathan R. Russell; Jeffrey Huang; Scott A. Strobel (September 2011). "Biodegradation of Polyester Polyurethane by Endophytic Fungi". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 77 (17): 6076–6084. "doi:10.1128/aem.00521-11. "PMC 3165411Freely accessible. "PMID 21764951. 
  40. ^ "Biodegradation of Polyester Polyurethane by Endophytic Fungi". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. July 2011. 
  41. ^ "Deep Geologic Repository Project" (PDF). Ceaa-acee.gc.ca. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  42. ^ Roy, Robert (2006-03-07). "Immortal Polystyrene Foam Meets its Enemy". Livescience.com. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  43. ^ Ward, PG; Goff, M; Donner, M; Kaminsky, W; O'Connor, KE. (2006). "A two step chemo-biotechnological conversion of polystyrene to a biodegradable thermoplastic". Environmental Science and Technology. 40 (7): 2433–7. "Bibcode:2006EnST...40.2433W. "doi:10.1021/es0517668. "PMID 16649270. 
  44. ^ Cacciari I; Quatrini P; Zirletta G; Mincione E; Vinciguerra V; Lupattelli P; Giovannozzi Sermanni G (1993). "Isotactic polypropylene biodegradation by a microbial community: physicochemical characterization of metabolites produced". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 59. 
  45. ^ Ishtiaq Ali, Muhammad (2011). Microbial degradation of polyvinyl chloride plastics (PDF) (Ph.D.). Quaid-i-Azam University. pp. 45–46. 
  46. ^ a b Ishtiaq Ali, Muhammad (2011). Microbial degradation of polyvinyl chloride plastics (PDF) (Ph.D.). Quaid-i-Azam University. p. 76. 
  47. ^ Ishtiaq Ali, Muhammad (2011). Microbial degradation of polyvinyl chloride plastics (PDF) (Ph.D.). Quaid-i-Azam University. p. 122. 
  48. ^ "CanadaWorld – WCI student isolates microbe that lunches on plastic bags". The Record.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. 
  49. ^ Hadad D; Geresh S; Sivan A (2005). "Biodegradation of polyethylene by the thermophilic bacterium Brevibacillus borstelensis". Journal of applied microbiology. 98 (5): 1093–100. "doi:10.1111/j.1365-2672.2005.02553.x. "PMID 15836478. 
  50. ^ Trudy E. Bell (2007). "Preventing "Sick" Spaceships". 
  51. ^ Francesca Cappitelli; Claudia Sorlini (2008). "Microorganisms Attack Synthetic Polymers in Items Representing Our Cultural Heritage". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 74 (3): 564–569. "doi:10.1128/AEM.01768-07. "PMC 2227722Freely accessible. "PMID 18065627. 
  52. ^ Gwyneth Dickey Zaikab (March 2011). "Marine microbes digest plastic". 
  53. ^ Chetna Sharon; Madhuri Sharon (2012). "Studies on Biodegradation of Polyethylene terephthalate: A synthetic polymer" (PDF). Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology Research: 248–257. 
  54. ^ "Fungus eats CD". Nature. 2001. 
  55. ^ "Fungus 'eats' CDs". BBC. June 2001. 
  56. ^ Gusse AC; Miller PD; Volk TJ (July 2006). "White-rot fungi demonstrate first biodegradation of phenolic resin". Environmental Science and Technology. 40 (13): 4196–9. "Bibcode:2006EnST...40.4196G. "doi:10.1021/es060408h. "PMID 16856735. 
  57. ^ Cappitelli F; Principi P; Sorlini C. (Aug 2006). "Biodeterioration of modern materials in contemporary collections: can biotechnology help?". Trends in Biotechnology. 24 (8): 350–4. "doi:10.1016/j.tibtech.2006.06.001. "PMID 16782219. 
  58. ^ Andrea Rinaldi (November 7, 2006). "Saving a fragile legacy. Biotechnology and microbiology are increasingly used to preserve and restore the worlds cultural heritage". EMBO Reports. 7 (11): 1075–1079. "doi:10.1038/sj.embor.7400844. "PMC 1679785Freely accessible. "PMID 17077862. 
  59. ^ Weisman, Alan (2007). The world without us. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press. "ISBN "1443400084. 
  60. ^ Geyer, Roland; et al. (19 July 2017). "Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made". Science Advances. 3 (7): e1700782. "Bibcode:2017SciA....3E0782G. "doi:10.1126/sciadv.1700782. "PMID 28776036. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  61. ^ What's a Nurdle? – Ocean Defenders – the weblog. Weblog.greenpeace.org. Retrieved on 2011-11-03.
  62. ^ a b c Barnes DK, Galgani F, Thompson RC, Barlaz M (July 2009). "Accumulation and fragmentation of plastic debris in global environments". Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. 364 (1526): 1985–98. "doi:10.1098/rstb.2008.0205. "PMC 2873009Freely accessible. "PMID 19528051. 
  63. ^ EPA. (2012). Landfilling.
  64. ^ Levis, James W.; Barlaz, Morton A. (July 2011). "Is Biodegradability a Desirable Attribute for Discarded Solid Waste? Perspectives from a National Landfill Greenhouse Gas Inventory Model". Environmental Science & Technology. 45 (13): 5470–5476. "Bibcode:2011EnST...45.5470L. "doi:10.1021/es200721s. 
  65. ^ "The monster footprint of digital technology". Low-Tech Magazine. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  66. ^ "How much energy does it take (on average) to produce 1 kilogram of the following materials?". Low-Tech Magazine. 2014-12-26. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  67. ^ a b c See "incineration for references - except that there is no reference on the incineration page for the need to reach 850 degrees
  68. ^ Halden, RU (2010). "Plastics and Health Risks". Annual Review of Public Health. 31: 179–194. "doi:10.1146/annurev.publhealth.012809.103714. "PMID 20070188. 
  69. ^ The Hindu-Dec 2005. Hindu.com (2005-12-19). Retrieved on 2011-07-01.
  70. ^ [1]
  71. ^ "Implementation of the PVC policy". The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Limited. Retrieved October 24, 2012. 
  72. ^ SPI Resin Identification Code – Guide to Correct Use. plasticsindustry.org
  73. ^ Watson, Peter. A Terrible Beauty (also published as Modern Mind: An intellectual history of the 20th century). London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd (imprint of Orion Books). 2001
  74. ^ Jezek, Geno. "What is Vinyl?". Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  75. ^ "Polyvinyl chloride". Plasticsusa.com. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  76. ^ Salocks, Charles & Kaley, Karlyn Black (2 February 2004). "Technical Support Document: Toxicology of Hydrogen Chloride (Revised)" (PDF). California EPA, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. p. 8. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  77. ^ "How can I preserve my family photographs for my grandchildren?". The Library of Congress Preservation FAQs. LoC. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  78. ^ Kinnane, Adrian (2002). DuPont: From the banks of the Brandywine to miracles of science. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 116–125. "ISBN "0-8018-7059-3. 

External links[edit]

) ) WikipediaAudio is not affiliated with Wikipedia or the WikiMedia Foundation.