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- Properties and Uses of Plastics as a Construction Material
- What Are the Different Types of Plastic?
Year 10 Manufacturing Resistant Materials. Lesson 4 Plastics. Properties, Uses and Common Forms.
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. Plastic Article Media Additional Info. Article Contents. Print print Print. Table Of Contents. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions.
Facebook Twitter. Give Feedback External Websites. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article requires login. External Websites. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Author of Principles of Polymer Systems. See Article History. Plastic soft-drink bottles are commonly made of polyethylene terephthalate PET. Most automobile interiors today are made largely of plastic parts. Compact discs are made from tough, highly transparent polycarbonate plastic.
Britannica Quiz. Plastics: Fact or Fiction? Are some forms of plastic stronger than steel? From celluloid to the conduction of electricity, learn more about plastics in this quiz.
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Properties and Uses of Plastics as a Construction Material
The world is full of plastics. Whether you realize it or not, practically everything you see and use on a daily basis is entirely or partly plastic material. Your television, computer, car, house, refrigerator, and many other essential products utilize plastic materials to make your life easier and more straightforward. However, all plastics are not made alike. Manufacturers utilize a variety of different plastic materials and compounds that each possess unique properties. Well-known for its use in optical devices and products, acrylic is a transparent thermoplastic used as a lightweight, shatter-resistant alternative to glass. Acrylic is typically used in sheet form create products such as acrylic mirrors and acrylic plexiglass.
To understand the types of plastics available, their differences and to figure out what can be recycled, refer to our quick guide below. One of the most commonly recycled plastics, clear bottles are likely to be recycled, remove lids first. Clear bottles look for 'bubble' on the bottom of a bottle , food trays clear, green, black etc. Clear bottles look for a line on the bottom of the bottle , food trays, toys, piping, wire insulation. More fragile and will crack and.
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.
At the end of their use life they can be repaired or re-used, but ultimately, they will become to produce bio-degradable plastics with both types of feedstocks.
What Are the Different Types of Plastic?
Since the s, the production of plastic has outpaced that of almost every other material. Plastic is an essential component of many items, including water bottles, combs, and beverage containers. Television, computer, car, house, refrigerator, and many other essential products utilize plastic materials to make our life easier and more straightforward. In , the Society of the Plastics Industry SPI established a classification system to help people properly recycle and dispose of their plastics. Today, manufacturers follow this coding system and place a number, or SPI code, on each product, usually molded into the bottom.
Plastics are also called as Polymers. They are made up of carbon, hydrogen and sometimes oxygen, chlorine, nitrogen, fluorine, sulfur, phosphorus or silicon. Properties of plastics or polymers play a vital role in the field of Mechanical Engineering. For that, in this article, I am exploring the necessary properties of polymers in a detailed manner. The Properties of Polymers or plastics which are essential to know for any mechanical engineer are as follows:.
Alyssa Mertes. Plastic is an essential component of many items, including water bottles, combs, and beverage containers.