Research Done Right - How to Get Your Chemical or Plastic to Market Faster
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In such cases, the resources it would take to separate the plastics far exceed their value and the item is discarded. However, developments are taking place in the field of active disassembly , which may result in more product components being reused or recycled. Recycling certain types of plastics can be unprofitable as well. For example, polystyrene is rarely recycled because the process is usually not cost effective. These unrecycled wastes are typically disposed of in landfills , incinerated or used to produce electricity at waste-to-energy plants.
An early success in the recycling of plastics is Vinyloop , an industrial process to separate PVC from other materials through dissolution, filtration and separation of contaminants.
A solvent is used in a closed loop to elute PVC from the waste. This makes it possible to recycle composite PVC waste, which is normally incinerated or put in a landfill. The global warming potential is 39 percent lower. This is why the use of recycled material leads to a significantly better ecological outcome. In , to assist recycling of disposable items, the Plastic Bottle Institute of the U. Society of the Plastics Industry devised a now-familiar scheme to mark plastic bottles by plastic type.
Under this scheme, a plastic container is marked with a triangle of three " chasing arrows ", which encloses a number denoting the plastic type:.
Plastic and how it affects our oceans
The first plastic based on a synthetic polymer was made from phenol and formaldehyde , with the first viable and cheap synthesis methods invented in , by Leo Hendrik Baekeland , a Belgian-born American living in New York state. Baekeland was looking for an insulating shellac to coat wires in electric motors and generators. He found that combining phenol C 6 H 5 OH and formaldehyde HCOH formed a sticky mass and later found that the material could be mixed with wood flour, asbestos, or slate dust to create strong and fire resistant "composite" materials.
The new material tended to foam during synthesis, requiring that Baekeland build pressure vessels to force out the bubbles and provide a smooth, uniform product, as he announced in , in a meeting of the American Chemical Society. Bakelite was a purely synthetic material, not derived from living matter. It was also an early thermosetting plastic.
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Unplasticised polystyrene is a rigid, brittle, inexpensive plastic that has been used to make plastic model kits and similar knick-knacks. It also is the basis for some of the most popular "foamed" plastics, under the name styrene foam or Styrofoam. Like most other foam plastics, foamed polystyrene can be manufactured in an "open cell" form, in which the foam bubbles are interconnected, as in an absorbent sponge, and "closed cell", in which all the bubbles are distinct, like tiny balloons, as in gas-filled foam insulation and flotation devices.
In the late s, high impact styrene was introduced, which was not brittle. It finds much current use as the substance of toy figurines and novelties. Polyvinyl chloride PVC, commonly called "vinyl"  incorporates chlorine atoms. The C-Cl bonds in the backbone are hydrophobic and resist oxidation and burning.
PVC is stiff, strong, heat and weather resistant, properties that recommend its use in devices for plumbing , gutters, house siding, enclosures for computers and other electronics gear. PVC can also be softened with chemical processing, and in this form it is now used for shrink-wrap , food packaging, and rain gear. All PVC polymers are degraded by heat and light. When this happens, hydrogen chloride is released into the atmosphere and oxidation of the compound occurs.
The plastics industry was revolutionized in the s with the announcement of polyamide PA , far better known by its trade name nylon. In , DuPont had begun a secret development project designated Fiber66, under the direction of Harvard chemist Wallace Carothers and chemistry department director Elmer Keiser Bolton.
follow Carothers had been hired to perform pure research, and he worked to understand the new materials' molecular structure and physical properties. He took some of the first steps in the molecular design of the materials.
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His work led to the discovery of synthetic nylon fiber, which was very strong but also very flexible. The first application was for bristles for toothbrushes. However, Du Pont's real target was silk , particularly silk stockings. Carothers and his team synthesized a number of different polyamides including polyamide 6. With such a major investment, it was no surprise that Du Pont spared little expense to promote nylon after its introduction, creating a public sensation, or "nylon mania". The production capacity that had been built up to produce nylon stockings , or just nylons , for American women was taken over to manufacture vast numbers of parachutes for fliers and paratroopers.
After the war ended, DuPont went back to selling nylon to the public, engaging in another promotional campaign in that resulted in an even bigger craze, triggering the so-called nylon riots. Subsequently, polyamides 6, 10, 11, and 12 have been developed based on monomers which are ring compounds; e. Nylon 66 is a material manufactured by condensation polymerization. Nylons still remain important plastics, and not just for use in fabrics.
In its bulk form it is very wear resistant, particularly if oil-impregnated, and so is used to build gears, plain bearings , valve seats, seals and because of good heat-resistance, increasingly for under-the-hood applications in cars, and other mechanical parts. Poly methyl methacrylate PMMA , also known as acrylic or acrylic glass as well as by the trade names Plexiglas , Acrylite , Lucite , and Perspex among several others see below , is a transparent thermoplastic often used in sheet form as a lightweight or shatter-resistant alternative to glass.
The same material can be utilised as a casting resin, in inks and coatings, and has many other uses. Natural rubber is an elastomer an elastic hydrocarbon polymer that originally was derived from latex , a milky colloidal suspension found in specialised vessels in some plants.
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It is useful directly in this form indeed, the first appearance of rubber in Europe was cloth waterproofed with unvulcanized latex from Brazil. However, in , Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber; a form of natural rubber heated with sulfur and a few other chemicals , forming cross-links between polymer chains vulcanization , improving elasticity and durability. In , Nelson Goodyear added fillers to natural rubber materials to form ebonite. The first fully synthetic rubber was synthesized by Sergei Lebedev in In World War II, supply blockades of natural rubber from South East Asia caused a boom in development of synthetic rubber, notably styrene-butadiene rubber.
In , annual production of synthetic rubber in the U. In the space race and nuclear arms race , Caltech researchers experimented with using synthetic rubbers for solid fuel for rockets. Ultimately, all large military rockets and missiles would use synthetic rubber based solid fuels, and they would also play a significant part in the civilian space effort. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Plastic disambiguation.
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This article relies too much on references to primary sources. Please improve this by adding secondary or tertiary sources. November Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: Biodegradable plastic. Main article: Bioplastic. See also: High-performance plastics. See also: Timeline of plastic development. Main articles: Chemical industry and Plastics industry. See also: Plastic pollution , Marine debris , and Great Pacific garbage patch. Main article: Plastic recycling.
Plastics type marks: the resin identification code . Main article: Bakelite. Main articles: Polystyrene and PVC. Main article: Nylon. Main article: Poly methyl methacrylate. Main article: Synthetic rubber.