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.
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.
Manufacturing process of plastics
Preparation of raw materials
Preparation of monomer
Conversion of polymer resins to plastic products
In the process of converting polymer resins to plastic product following steps are involved
- Injection molding
- Blow molding
- Rotational molding
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