Chemical Plastic

February 28, 2011

Do you Know How are Plastics Produced?

Plastic is a polymer (which are large molecules), that consists of a long repeating chain of smaller molecules, which are called monomers.

Monomers are made of atoms, and easily extracted from organic sources, and fall into the class of chemicals known as petrochemicals. 

Plastics are produced by a process called polymerization.

In this process, thousands of monomers are joined together to form a polymer chain.

Common monomers used in the production of plastics, such as vinyl acetate, styrene, butadiene and vinyl chloride, are extracted from crude oil or natural gas.

In the world of “plastics”, there are two main types – thermosetting plastics and thermo-plastics.

Both of these main types are produced by pouring liquid monomers into molds, and they undergo a process called polymerization.

The thermosetting plastic type is permanent once molded, while the thermoplastic type will melt under heat.

The monomer liquid is superheated during the molding process, which causes polymerization to occur, and we end up with a product that is uniform and solid.

Some of the well known plastic products on the market today include: Formica, Teflon, Tupperware, Nylon, Synthetic Rubber and PVC.

Plastic is the most widely used synthetic in the world.

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