The word plastic comes from the Latin (plasticus-capable of moulding) and Greek word (plastikos-fit for moulding).
Plastics are made of polymeric substances, but not all polymers are plastics.
Raw materials such as crude oil, natural gas and coal are used to prepare plastics.
Plastics are made from polymeric resin, often mixed with additives to enhance their colour and shine.
Characteristics of plastics:
- They are poor conductors of electricity, so they are used in insulations for wires, make switches, etc.
- The heat resistance is low because they have low thermal conductivity, and hence they melt when heated.
- They are easy to process and flexible.
- Plastics are lightweight compared to other materials such as glass, metals, ceramics etc.
- The toughness or the tensile strength of materials is low compared to metals and alloys.
- Plastics can be coloured as per wishes and can be moulded into different shapes as per needs.
- Plastics are non-reactive to chemicals.
- Plastics are inexpensive compared to metals.
Uses of Plastics:
The general uses of plastics are durable, cost-effective, used in the construction industry. Some of the plastics are degradable in nature, energy saving, in flooring, roofing etc.
Some of the most commonly used plastics and their uses are:
- Polypropylene: The most common polypropylene uses are used in making straws, kettles, clothing, packing tape, bottle caps etc.
- Polyvinyl Chloride: They are used in making pipes, flooring, cables. Cleaning solutions, water bottles etc.
- Low-density Polyethylene: They are used in making computer hardware covers, laundry bags, trays etc.
- High-density Polyethylene: They are used in freezer bags, protective helmets, insulations etc.
- Polyethylene Terephthalate: They are used in making bottles used in cooking, soft drink bottles, ready meal trays, first aid blankets etc.
'Plasticity 'is the word that describes the property, feature and attributes to a structure that would not break. Plasticity describes whether or not a polymer would survive the temperature and pressure during the moulding process.
Applications of plastics