The History Of Plastics

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1. Reason for the process. Plastics are used in many different ways, not just as a bag to hold your groceries. Plastics are used in modern packaging to ship and transport as seen in FIGURE 1. Plastic is used because of how light weight it is and how much of a certain thing it can hold. For example 2 pounds of plastic can hold 1000 ounces of juice containers; you would need 3 pounds of aluminum and 8 pounds of steel to carry this same weight. This show how efficient plastic really is. Using plastic in some household items such as refrigerators, and air conditioners improves there energy efficacy by 30 – 50%. Figure 1 2. History of the process. In 1868, a man by the name of Hyatt was the first to introduce a simplified version of the production of celluloid. Celluloid is a compound created from camphor (C10H16O) and nitrocellulose C6H8(NO2)2O5. It is also considered the first thermoplastic (which is a polymer that can be molded or is pliable). Celluloid became very popular in the early 1900’s as it was used as film for motion pictures. In 1899 Arthur Smith first proposed the idea of using “phenol-formaldehyde resins for use as an ebonite substitute in electrical insulation", however this process revisited in1907 by Leo Baekeland as he improved the reaction method and he invented the first commercially used synthetic resin. In 1978 linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) was introduced and made it possible to produce polyethylenes with low densities that range from 0.915– 0.925g/cm3. LLPDE is very tensile (stretchy), and it is quite durable. Some of these features can be attributed to the introduction of alloys. 3. Chemical reactions involved in manufacture. Plastics are a synthetic materials, this means that that t... ... middle of paper ... ...ffects on local area (environmental and social). The biggest problem on the environment that plastic has is that it doesn’t biodegrade. This means that no natural process can break it down. Plastic actually photodegrades this is a process in particularly those from the sunlight. There are two products of photodegradation and they are called mermaid tears or nurdles. However this process can upwards of 100 years to complete. Also plastic can be very dangerous to marine life if it is disposed on in water. Sometimes animals eat the plastic, which can poison them or could block important tubes required for their survival. Nurdles are also troublesome as they soak up the toxic chemical and become highly concentrated with it. This threatens the entire food chain, especially when eaten by bottom feeders as they are then consumed by large fish. 7. Role of the Chemist.
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