Chemistry of Plastics & Polymer


plastic production life cycle

plastic production life cycle

Plastics are made up of polymers, but some polymers like biopolymers are not plastics. Plastic materials are being used in day to day life like computers, pen, mobile phones, compact discs, pendrive, and toothbrushes etc.

Plastic is defined as any synthetic or semi-synthetic organic material that can be shaped or molded into any form. Chemical composition of plastics includes chains of carbon, oxygen, sulfur or nitrogen.


Plastic Recycle process

Plastic Recycle process

History of plastics

In 1284 naturally made plastic compounds from horn and tortoiseshell were identified

1820 plastic timeline

 In 1823, Scottish chemist Charles Macintosh discovered rubber.

In 1845, Henry Bewley produced natural rubber from plant gutta percha

In 1850, first submarine telegraph cable in gutta percha laid between Dover and Calais

In 1862, Londoner Alexander Parkes unveiled first man-made Parkesine plastic compound

In 1869, John W. Hyatt invented Celluloid [colorless flammable material]

In 1872, Hyatt brothers patented first plastics injection moulding machine

In 1880 cellulose nitrate replacing horn as the preferred material for combs

In 1885, George Eastman Kodak patents machine for producing continuous photographic film based on cellulose nitrate.

1900 plastic timeline

In 1908, Jacques E. Brandenberger invented Cellophane [transparent cellulose material]

In 1909, Casein plastics, derived from milk, developed by Erinoid.

In 1909, H. Baekeland created first fully synthetic plastic product called Bakelite

In 1916, Rolls Royce begins to use phenol formaldehyde in its car interiors.

In 1920, Polyvinyl chloride or PVC was created.

In 1925, Plastic term was coined.

In 1930, in this year scotch tape was invented by 3M company

In 1933, Fawcett and Gibson discovered polyethylene material

In 1938, first toothbrush with nylons tufts manufactured.

In 1939, in this year nylon created.

In 1942, Dr Harry Coover discovered Super Glue (methyl cyanoacrylate).

In 1948, Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) produced.

In 1949, Tupperware material made from low density polyethylene.

In 1949, DuPont invented Lycra product which is based on polyurethane.

In 1953, Lexan plastic material was invented by Daniel Fox.

In 1959 Barbie Doll unveiled at American International Toy Fair.

In 1965 DuPont released products with the trade name of Kevlar.

In 1973, Polyethylene terephthalate beverage bottles introduced.

In 1988, triangular recycling symbols relating to plastics were introduced.

2000 to 2022 plastic timeline

In 2003 Recovinyl [it is a European PVC recycling system] was established

2005 in this year NASA explores the advantages of a polyethylene based material RFX1 [RFX1 used for spaceship construction]

In 2011, vinylplus – sustainability programme established

In 2012 PVC fabric used in the construction of London Olympic venues

2020 PVC products production will reaches to 800,000 tones per year

2022 in this year the FIFA world cup qatar showcase stadium is planning to use super reflective, triangulated PVC fabric to create a zero carbon.

Plastic production chart

Plastic production chart

Manufacturing process of plastics

Preparation of raw materials

Preparation of monomer

Polymerization process

Conversion of polymer resins to plastic products

In the process of converting polymer resins to plastic product following steps are involved

  • Extrusion
  • Injection molding
  • Blow molding
  • Rotational molding
plastic applications

plastic applications

Applications of plastics

Plastics are widely used in following industrial sectors for various purposes

Textile industry – polyester used for making of some cloths

Packaging industry – Polyethylene terephthalate chemical used in carbonated drinks bottles, peanut butter jars, plastic film, microwavable packaging

Plastic also used in

  • Supermarket bags
  • Window frames, outdoor furniture
  • Toothbrush bristles
  • Traffic lights
  • Cushioning foams
  • Thermal insulation foams
  • Surface coatings

One thought on “Chemistry of Plastics & Polymer

  1. Pingback: world of chemicals | CHEMISTRY OF PLASTICS & POLYMER

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s