Types of Plastics

In our daily life, we use various kinds of products and during that, we can’t miss the importance of plastics. Have you noticed that how much we use the plastic????

I think, you are reading this post on your Mobile…. Right?
Hmmm…. No? Ok, then on Laptop….??? On Desktop….??? Or any screen or any other gadget…. My mean … exactly!!!

From starting of our day in early morning we must requires tooth brush, water bucket- tumbler, shampoo container, pen for writing, raincoats for wearing, chairs for sitting, lunch box, water bottle, parts of bike, car and bicycle etc. and various products are made of plastic.
You’re Mobile, your laptop, desktop, car’s dashboard and so on… I think this list has no end. Now a days in various applications timber or wooden and metallic parts has been replaced by Plastics. Such as we can see our furniture like your dining table, chairs was made by sheet metals or wooden pieces. But at this time that are made by plastic.

Hmmm…. As we can say that without plastic our life will not easy to get movement….

What are Plastics?

What is plastic made of? Answer is …
Light and strong material are made by synthesization of chemicals and it is used to making many usable objects. Plastic is a polymer material which having easy mouldable properties. Generally, plastics are moulded by the application of heat and such an amount of pressure. Synthetic and semi-synthetic Plastics are used in various range of applications. Here we will discuss some examples of plastic as well.

Do you know? What is oxybenzylmethyleneglycolanhydryde ?
Ahhhh…. I know it is not easy to pronounce. But actually it is plastic or we can say it is term of plastic and its name is Bakelite.

Bakelite Switch
Switches of this instrument are made by Bakelite.

Plastics come from where?

The word Plastic, is comes from Greek word plasticos, means that material able to mould and shape by application of heat and pressure. Plastic is organic material same as timbers and mineral oil derived from materials found in nature, such as petroleum oils, coal, minerals and plants. Rubber is also a plastic which is obtained by Rubber Tree (Euphorbiaceae). Most of plastic we uses in our daily life is made of petroleum oil or crude oil. It is obtained by Polymerisation and polycondensation of that crude oil. It starts with distillation of crude oil in Oil refinery. The refining process separates heavy crude oil into lighter Hydro- Carbon chain. There are so many types of plastic materials and some of them, like Acrylic, Polystyrene, polycarbonate, Polyurethane, PVC, and Nylon etc. Most usable plastic in our daily life is Polyethylene (HDPE and LDPE) and then Polypropylene is.

Types of Plastics

Like metals categories as ferrous and Non-ferrous, Plastic has also categorized into categories as –

Natural Plastics – Natural plastics is achieved directly from nature and it can be easily moulded or shaped by application of heat. Most effective example of natural plastic is Shellac which is discharged by female bug named as Lac which found in Indian and Thai forests. Shellac is classified thermoplastics, because of it is moulded by heat and pressure. Shellac was used as protective coating, jewellery (Bangles), small artificial gallery items etc. And another example for natural plastic is Amber found off tree resins. It is also used in jewellery as gem stones.   

Heyyy… Once again!!!
Do you know…..??? Proteins, cellulose, starches, enzymes are also polymers, that found in animals and plants. Which are important for our environmental and biological processes.

Plastic : Cellulose
Paper : Made of cellulose

Semi-Synthetic Plastics – This types of plastics are made from modification of natural plastics by mixing of other materials with. For examples is Cellulose acetate, where cellulose is natural plastic which is treated with other chemicals.

Synthetic Plastics – In modern days, widely plastic which is used by us in our daily life is Synthetic plastic. This types of plastics are that materials that are secured from synthesizing or breaking down carbon-based materials such as crude oil, petroleum gas and coal so their atomic structure changes. Silicon is also plastic which is derived from sand.  PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate also known or Polyester), HDPE (High Density Polyethylene), LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene), PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) and PP (Polypropylene) are most usable types of synthetic plastics.   
Semi-synthetic and synthetic plastics are further divided in two categories which are based on reaction of plastic after heating, i.e., thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics.

Thermoplastics – We can heat and cools several time without changing its chemical properties. Once this plastic has been heated and moulded in a product, after then also possible to change shape by application of heat with ease. For example, Polypropylene, Nylon etc.

Thermosetting Plastics – These are plastics which once shaped or moulded by application of heat, after that not possible to change that shape by heat or pressure reapplication. They are permanently shaped in once, because of that makes irreversible bond during curing process. Thermosets is alternative name of thermosetting plastics. Bakelite, Polyurethane, polyester resins, Formica are most common examples of thermosets.  Most advantage of thermoset plastic is, they do not loose shape or deforms in extreme heat or cold situations. We can see that in our kitchen, Handle of Pressure cooker is also made of thermoset as Bakelite, and some platform tops are made of Formica.

Properties of Plastic –

Following are properties of plastic –

  • Strength

  • Durability

  • Whether resistance

  • Dimensional Stability

  • Thermal resistance

  • Chemical resistance

  • Moisture resistance

  • Miscellaneous such as Opacity, transparency, Light in weight, easy availability, mould ability etc.  


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