How is plastic made?

How is plastic made?

How to make plastic

Most of the plastics used today are manufactured by following a set of steps and processes that include the following:

  • Extraction:  (in English: Extraction); The manufacture of plastic begins with the extraction or extraction process, during which the raw materials from which the plastic is made are extracted, and these materials include oil and natural gas, and coal can also be used, and it is indicated that these materials represent a mixture of thousands of compounds that then require treatment.
  • Refining:  (in English: Refining Process); The refining process aims to convert crude oil into various petroleum products. such as monomers, which represent the basic building block for the production of polymers, and the refining process goes through several stages that include heating the oil in an oven, and then passing it to the distillation unit; Where heavy crude oil is separated into lighter components; Including naphtha, which is the basic compound for the manufacture of large quantities of plastic, and it is worth noting that other methods are used if natural gas is used to produce plastic.
  • Polymerization:  (in English: Polymerization); The polymerization process refers to the chemical union of small molecules called monomers in order to produce a very large network molecule called a polymer. The monomer molecules consist of one type of compound or more, as no less than 100 molecules of them are combined in order to produce a product that has unique and specific properties. such as flexibility, high tensile strength, in addition to the ability to produce fibers, which is a special advantage for polymers over other materials resulting from the union of small particles, and the polymerization process itself is characterized by the production of stable covalent chemical bonds between monomers, and the polymerization process is divided into two types Two basics are as follows:
    • Addition polymerization: (in English: Addition Polymerization); Addition polymerization occurs when a two-molecule polymer called a dimer is joined to an immediately-following polymer of a type called a trimer; any three-molecule polymer, by introducing a catalyst, usually a peroxide, and that type of polymerization is known as chain growth polymers; This is because one unit of the monomer is added each time. Examples of plastic materials produced using this type of polymerization are; Polyethylene, polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride.
    • Condensation Polymerization: (in English: Condensation Polymerization); Condensation polymerization is defined as the bonding of two or more monomer units by removing small molecules; Like water, the process also requires the presence of a catalyst in order to ensure that the interaction occurs between the monomer units, and this type of polymerization is called gradual growth; This is because an existing chain is added to another chain of monomers. An example of plastics produced using this type of polymerization is; polyester and nylon.
  • The multiplication and processing process:  (in English: Compounding); The compounding process involves mixing and blending a different group of melted and molten materials in order to produce plastic formulations, as this process is carried out using a dedicated extruder for that purpose, and then followed by a drying process for the mixture, where the extruder or those pellets are converted into a final or semi-finished product, usually What happens to plastic formation using a twin-screw extruder, as processing processes are applied in order to produce plastic materials with a unique design, size, shape, color, and precise properties according to the pre-determined conditions in the processing machine.

plastic types

There are many different types of plastic, but plastic products can be divided into two main groups, as follows:

  • Thermoplastic polymers:  (in English: Thermoplastics); Thermoplastic polymers are soft when heated and harden when cooled.
  • thermosetting solid polymers:  (in English: Thermosets); The advantage of thermosetting polymers is that they never soften once formed.

uses of plastic

Plastic has many uses and benefits; It is used in many fields, the most important of which are as follows:

  • Construction:  Plastic materials can be used to design sustainable, long-term and durable construction in the field of construction and infrastructure. like bridges.
  • Car design:  Plastics have contributed to many innovations in the field of car design, especially with regard to matters of safety, performance, and fuel efficiency.
  • Electronics manufacturing:  The use of durable, lightweight, and affordable plastic materials has revolutionized the world of electronic devices, including computers, televisions, mobile phones, microwaves, and others.
  • Goods packaging:  Packaging goods with plastic products helped protect and preserve them. This also contributes to weight reduction during transportation, which leads to reduced fuel use, which in turn works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Sports Safety:  Plastic materials are used in the manufacture of sports safety equipment in order to protect and preserve the head, feet, and bones from impacts; such as plastic helmets, mouth guards, and goggles; This is because plastic materials are characterized by durability and light weight.

Why is plastic bad for the planet?

Plastic is harmful to the planet for a number of reasons and things. They are as follows:

  • Plastic is an unsustainable material:  as many types of plastic materials are not recyclable, and plastic is also made from unsustainable materials, including oil, natural gas, and coal, and the plastic manufacturing process itself is harmful to the environment.
  • Slow decomposition of plastic:  Plastic materials need a long time to decompose and filter toxic substances out of them, as it takes 1000 years or more to decompose in landfills, and when degraded, plastic does not completely disappear; It disintegrates into fine particles called microplastics, and it is noteworthy that some plastic materials are biodegradable, as they can be converted into fertilizer, but the production process is very expensive.
  • Plastic is dangerous to wildlife:  thousands of seabirds, sea turtles, and other marine mammals die every year; As a result of eating plastic materials dumped in those water bodies, or that these organisms are attached to these products, as this matter threatens many marine creatures with extinction, and examples of this are monk seals in Hawaii, and loggerhead sea turtles in the Pacific Ocean.

Definition of plastic

Plastic is defined as any organic, industrial, or semi-synthetic polymer that is permanently composed of carbon and hydrogen, and may contain other elements, and it is indicated that the term plastic refers to the property of plasticity and the ability to deform without breaking

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