Read more: What Makes Polystyrene Different from Styrene? Most modern plastics are based on organic chemicals that offer manufacturers a huge range of physical properties that is still growing. PETE is a durable, transparent plastic commonly used to make beverage and food product bottles and jars as well as microwaveable food trays and ovenproof plastic wrap. Plastics are a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic compounds that are malleable and so can be molded into solid objects. It is used predominantly as a fiber (known by the trade name “polyester”) and for bottling or packaging. Plastic pipe is a tubular section, or hollow cylinder, made of plastic.It is usually, but not necessarily, of circular cross-section, used mainly to convey substances which can flow—liquids and gases (fluids), slurries, powders and masses of small solids. 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. What are Plastics: the Chemistry. Plastics are a good insulator of heat. Some plastics are soft while others are hard, almost like glass. Some are trans… When it comes to canned beer, though, you will find that the inside of the can is often lined with a plastic polymer. We had to work with the materials that nature provided, but no more—we now design our own materials. It is a favorite material for children's clarinets and recorders, protective helmets and canoes. Whatever mode of transport you pick, you'll find plastic used extensively in: Plastics are even combined with other materials as structural elements in all kinds of transport, even skateboards, rollerblades, and bicycles. Plastics are everywhere. When plastic bottles are recycled they can be made into lots of things: t-shirts, sweaters, fleece jackets, insulation for jackets and sleeping bags, carpeting and more bottles. Some plastics are hard and shatter-resistant, others are soft and flexible. It is the most widely used plastic in the world, being made into products ranging from clear food wrap and shopping bags to detergent bottles and fuel tanks. There is a huge percentage of plastic in your television, your sound system, your cell phone, and your vacuum cleaner and probably plastic foam in your furniture. Practically, plastic benefits us in society with the sheer number of uses we can get out of it (and how important some of these uses are). Most plastics are strong, long-lasting, and lightweight. But what happens after we throw it away is causing a big problem for our planet. For example, PET is the plastic used for bottled water and is highly recyclable. Plastics are used to make bicycle helmets, child safety seats and airbags in automobiles. Get facts about plastics, discover plastics history and read about the diverse types of plastics. A wide range of applications of plastics in buildings are given below: 1. Plastic utensils. They aren't good for the landfill, as many will persist for hundreds of years; when they're incinerated, dangerous gases can be produced. The raw materials for today’s plastics come from many places (some even use salt! PLASTICS: Plastics are polymers of chemical units which are linked together. Plastic is a practical material. Use backing plate over holes, layer in fiberglass cloth for extra strength. Polyethylene, light, versatile synthetic resin made from the polymerization of ethylene. At Curver we make the most of its versatility to create a wide range of household products designed to make your daily life easier. You use them every day. Read more: Debunking the Myths: Are there really 84,000 chemicals? Todd Johnson has worked on the development, commercialization, and sales sides of the composites industry since 2004. We still must solve the disposal issue, which is being actively addressed through materials research, recycling policies, and enhanced public awareness. There are “organic” plastics, which contain carbon, and inorganic plastics, which don’t. Plastics are derived from natural, organic materials such as cellulose, coal, natural gas, salt and, of course, crude oil. Print There was a time when anything made of plastic was considered to be of inferior quality, but those days are past. It takes 63 bottles to make a sweater. There are two basic classes of plastics along with seven popular types of plastics. Most home centers will carry the utility grade. This means that they keep warm things warm and cool things cool. We used to build ships from wood and planes from string (hemp) and canvas (cotton/flax). Plastic is really useful and we use it every day. Plastic, polymeric material that has the capability of being molded or shaped, usually by the application of heat and pressure. When it is recycled, it is made into pipes, … sustainable, durable, long-lasting design and construction, From computers and cell phones to televisions and microwaves, durable, lightweight and affordable plastics have helped revolutionize the, Find information on what the number on the bottom of many. Plastic is used across almost every sector, including to produce packaging, in building and construction, in textiles, consumer products, transportation, electrical and electronics and industrial machinery. They are corrosion resistant to many substances which attack other materials, making them durable and suitable for use in harsh environments. Plastic is the third most commonly used petroleum derivative in the world; each year 200 million tons of plastic are consumed on the planet. This type of plastic is also available in two different strengths: commercial grade for large industrial applications and a utility grade for personal use. Additionally, because many plastics are based ultimately on crude oil, there is a continuous rise in the cost of raw materials that chemical engineers are trying to workaround. The first type of greenhouse plastic is called polyethylene plastic. Plastic is relatively inexpensive so it is used in many applications. Manufacturers often use plastics in place of more expensive materials. Despite the apparent simplicity of plastic sheets, you still have to put in some thought into which type of plastic you’re going to use for your greenhouse. Because many plastics are so durable and don't corrode, they create considerable disposal problems. It is also used in manufacturing piping systems, as well as chairs, and in medical or laboratory use. Learn about plastics and how they improve our lives. Many supermarkets now give us one-use grocery bags; leave them in a cupboard long enough and all you will have left is dust because they are engineered to degrade. Due to the resistance to fatigue, this means that it can be used on items that are going to have high stress, such as hinge mechanisms on water bottles and more. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully reviews materials to be used in food contact before allowing them on the market using a rigorous safety standard. Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE or PET): PET is the most widely produced plastic in the world. Polyethylene Plastic. Versatile plastics inspire innovations that help make life better, healthier and safer every day. There are several different types of plastic resin used to make different products. A wide variety of what are plastics used for options are available to you, such as plastic, pvc, and abs. Find information on the wide variety of plastics used in hundreds of household and consumer products. Here's why: 1 | Durable and safe Our prime concern is the safety and wellbeing of our customers. offers 163 what are plastics used for products. About 11% of these are waste bins, 5% are plastic sheets, and 1% are moulds. Extremely strong and shock resistant, plastic is not harmful, unlike glass, for example, which can break. Print this Page. However, challenges lie ahead. We are getting wiser, and now many plastics can be chemically, mechanically, or thermally recycled. They are also easy to clean, making them safe and hygienic for preparing and storing food. We had to work with the materials that nature provided, but no more—we now design our own materials. Plastics are used to make bicycle helmets, child safety seats and airbags in automobiles. Plastics don't corrode, though they can degrade in UV, a component of sunlight, and can be affected by solvents. There are about 50 main types of plastic. They’re in the cell phones, televisions, computers and other electronic equipment that makes modern life possible. It will not crack under repeated stress. Plastics are easy to mould into any shape, and they can take on any colour. (For some reason, guys don't like to drink beer from plastic.) Most stores also bag your items in plastic bags. Whatever mode of transport you pick, you'll find plastic used extensively in: They resist damage by water, heat, chemicals, and electricity. ), but most plastics can be made from the hydrocarbons that are readily available in natural gas, oil and coal. PLA) are known as “bioplastics.” Polylactic Acid is biodegradable and has characteristics similar to polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), or polystyrene (PS). This plastic material is a thermoplastic polymer and the world’s second-most widely produced synthetic plastic. Learn more about the chemistry in the products we rely on every day, including how and why particular chemicals are used in different products, and health and safety information about these chemicals. Take a look in the kitchen and you might see a plastic chair or bar stool seats, plastic countertops (acrylic composites), plastic linings (PTFE) in your nonstick cooking pans, and plastic plumbing in your water system. Although PP is stronger than PE, it still retains flexibility. Plastics are extremely versatile materials and are ideal for a wide range of consumer and industrial applications. If you drink water from a bottle, that bottle is most likely plastic. It's easy to dismiss plastics as cheap and nasty materials that wreck the planet, but if you look around you, the reality is different. There are tens of thousands – or more – of different kinds of plastics and formulations. It's clear that modern life would be very different without plastics. What are you walking on? 1 for beer. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience and for our, Everything You Need to Know About Plastics, A Brief History of the Invention of Plastics, Examples of Petrochemicals and Petroleum Products, The Safest Type of Water Bottle to Drink From, Plastic Definition and Examples in Chemistry, B.S., Business Management, University of Colorado Boulder. And, although most have excellent thermal and electrical insulation properties, some plastics can be made to conduct electricity when required. HDPE – High density Polyethylene Plastics that are derived from biomass (e.g. In mechanical exfoliation, water-insoluble abrasive agents—microbeads made of plastic—are frequently used. There are plastics now that prevent gas from escaping pressurized soda bottles, but cans and glass are still No. They have countless uses. The food might be wrapped in PVC cling film, your yogurt is probably in plastic tubs, cheese in plastic wrap, and water and milk in blow-molded plastic containers. It’s a Matter of Chemistry. If you want cars, toys, replacement body parts, medical adhesives, paints, computers, water pipes, fiber-optic cables, and a million other things, you'll need plastics as well. Trains, planes, and automobiles, even ships, satellites, and space stations, use plastics extensively. Plastics are used in car parts and for all kinds of storage. There is a plastic suitable for almost any application. XPE, XLPE, PE-Xb, PEX, Crosslinked Polyethylene: Semi-Flexible, waxy or greasy feel, softens when heated but does not melt: Gas tanks, kayaks, canoes, trash cans, use is declining: Method AW-3 with polyethylene rod (R04 series). PVC plastic, for example, is soluble in acetone. There are many reasons for this, but plastic’s lightweight and durable nature certainly assist in making it an ideal candidate for outdoor structures. When recycled, it becomes part of new plastic containers, carpet yarns, polyester textiles, strapping materials and molds used in engineering. One of the most unusual uses for brightly hued ABS plastic is … The production of plastics begins with the distillation of crude oil in an oil refinery. The type of product that is made out of recycled plastic depends on the type of plastic resin. They’re in the cell phones, televisions, computers and other electronic equipment that makes modern life possible. We now have biofuel for automobiles, and the feedstock for that fuel grows on the land. Also known as PET, PETE or polyester, it is often used for carbonated beverages, water and … They’re in the roofs, walls, flooring and insulation that make homes and buildings energy efficient. The versatility of plastic materials comes from the ability to mold, laminate or shape them and to tailor them physically and chemically. Since all materials in contact with foods can have tiny amounts of substances transfer into the food, the FDA reviews scientific tests to determine how much is transferred and that any transfer does not pose a risk to human health. Read more: Understanding Risk and Hazard When it Comes to Chemicals. For example, plastic packaging is used to keep food fresh and hygienic. The type of plastic that would be used in a plastic fitting is a type of thermoplastic called PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. It takes about 10 bottles to make enough plastic fiber to make a cool new t-shirt. Find more information about specific kinds of plastics, like silicones, fluoropolymers, polyurethanes, vinyl, polycarbonate, or polystyrene. Read more: Six Ways Chemistry Helps Kids Get Back to School, Read more: Answering Questions about Microbeads. Recycled plastic is used to make many different types of products. Crude oil is a complex mixture of thousands of compounds and needs to be processed before it can be used. For example, HDPE, or high density polyethylene, is very tough, and is used to make rigid plastic containers such as milk jugs, film, piping, and beverage bottles. Some plastics have additives that make them bacteria- or fire-resistant; or give them a rainbow of colors; or make them flexible; or fill them with bubbles to make them better insulators; or even add fibers to make high-tech composites. Its widespread use and popularity are undoubted because polypropylene is one of the most flexible thermoplastics on the planet. Unless your floor covering is real wood, it probably has a synthetic/natural fiber blend like some of the clothes you wear. Its considerable shock-absorbent properties also make ABS plastic ideal for luggage, laptop cases and similar protective items. You are probably wearing plastic right now, maybe a polyester/cotton mix garment or even glasses or a watch with plastic components. Some plastics occur in nature, like tree rubber. OK. A very loaded question, with a very multi-dimension answer required: * Plastics derive from pure substances, and can be precisely formed into specific shapes repetitively, with potentially variable material properties throughout the “object”. Plastic bags — like those used for bread, newspapers and as cereal box liners, as well as sandwich bags, dry cleaning bags and grocery bags — create similar problems for recycling machinery as … Polyethylene is a member of the important family of polyolefin resins. He also writes about the industry. Use as a hot melt adhesive. It comes from a non-renewable source (petroleum), it is contaminating and non-biodegradable (it can take more than 1000 years to decompose). Plastics make possible many things people don’t recognize as plastic at all – like paints, protective coatings and linings, adhesives and glues, and sealants and insulation. Some of the other important uses of plastic in society are: Common Plastics: They’re in the roofs, walls, flooring and insulation that make homes and buildings energy efficient. Perversely, some plastics can be cured (hardened) by UV, which shows how varied their formulas are. Polypropylene is used for a wide number of different products. Now open your refrigerator. Alternatives include exfoliation materials made from ground fruit seeds, healing clay and jojoba oil, or water-soluble particles such as salt or sugar, generally combined with oils, or the classic method of exfoliation: a brush. A number of plastics are used to package, deliver, store or serve foods and drinks. It can be produced from already existing manufacturing equipment (those designed and originally used for petrochemical industry plastics). In addition, plastics can be made in many colors. As this production increases, "sustainable" feedstock for the plastic industry will become more widely available.