Polymers are a broad category of chemical substances that make use of thermoplastics, thermo-plasticizers or plastics as a primary ingredient. Their plasticity enables them to be extruded, molded or pressed into various solid materials of various shapes. The wide availability and price advantage of polymers make them a popular choice for manufacturers. There are two broad categories of plastics: polyethylene (PE), and polypropylene (PP) based plastics. PE is further subdivided into two further categories as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and acetone-based plastics.
Many types of plastics are in widespread use today. Plastics have many advantages over traditional fuels and construction materials. They are resistant to a variety of chemicals and low in toxic gases. With the rising popularity of polymers, many new applications for them have been developed, including packaging, protective coatings, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, dyes, thermosets, and even fire-retardant paints. All these polymers are widely used in the injection molding and blow molding industries.
Plastics and polymers differ when it comes to ease of manufacture, as well as durability and cost. Polymers generally require a high degree of automation to produce intricate pieces, whereas plastics need to lower production costs and higher speed production. Furthermore, plastics come with a longer service life. This is in contrast to polyethylene, which has a relatively short service life and is susceptible to a variety of additives, leading to its expensive upkeep.
Plastics and polymers differ when it comes to the extent of customization. Polymers can be formed into almost any shape imaginable, while plastics can only be formed into conforming shapes. Moreover, because of plastics' greater malleability, they can also be molded into a nearly unlimited number of intricate shapes, including beams, sheets, foam, and even synthetic fibers. On the other hand, polyethylene is limited to both conforming shapes and sheet materials.
How Polymers And Plastics Are Made
Polymers are generally derived from crude oil and natural gas. Although most of the polymers in the world are manmade, hydrocarbon-based plastics such as PVC have far too much man made additives for it to count as truly "natural". The global plastics market, therefore, favors more commonly derived, domestically produced materials. Although some argue that it is better to use more readily available raw materials, the environmental impact of building a single house, even one out of five, based on locally produced material can be severely mitigated by using readily available recycled materials. These raw materials can also be easily transformed into diverse polymers via a process called "re-formation".
The global plastics market includes manufacture and sale of a host of different types of plastics. Some of these include flexible, durable, waterproof, interlock able, thermosetting, and puncture proofing. Flexible and durable plastics generally have a high thermal conductivity, excellent tensile strength, and excellent resistance to wear and tear. Waterproof and interlock able plastics often feature a system of interlocking tabs or tongues which allow for greater tamper resistance, reduced cracking, and increased resistance to abrasion.
Another prominent type of plastic is polycarbonate. As the name suggests, polycarbonate is a material that has undergone a process whereby heat is applied to form an extremely tough material. Due to this process, polycarbonates are highly resistant to the damage caused by high temperatures. Additionally, polycarbonate is versatile and usable in a wide variety of applications. In terms of household and industrial usage, polycarbonate is found in a variety of common items, including automobiles, TVs, windows, and doors. Moreover, the polycarbonate market includes manufacturing and sale of a host of different types of polymers.
Polymer materials are made from a bunch of molecules affixed together. One particular polymer is polyethylene, which serves as a strong but flexible membrane in a variety of industries. Other types of pliable plastics include nylon, which is known for its extreme light weight, and polypropylene, which are a versatile but expensive polymer. It should be noted that some plastics have molecular weights that exceed those of their components. This can cause the said components to become unstable and ultimately lead to catastrophic effects.