Free «Plastic Manufacture» UK Essay Sample
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A polymer is another name for plastics. The term refers to a macromolecule that consist of repeated subunits. Both natural and synthetic polymers have many different characteristics, and that is why they are widely used in the world. Polymers are charachterized by three-dimensional, two-dimensional, and one-dimensional networks. The word “polymer means a molecule the structure of which consists of a number of replicated elements. These elements consists of hydrogen, carbon, and sometimes silicon and sulfur (“The Basics: Polymer Definition and Properties”).
Due to their natural occurence and unique charactarestics, polymers play an important role in the daily life of people. Three-dimensional plastics, for example, do not liquefy once formed, which makes them useful in various industries. Such a collection of nets is called “thermoset polymers” (Margolis, 2012). Fabrication polymers, on the other hand, can melt. Thermoplastic polymers, which are also known as linear polymers, are used in the production of cups, film, plastic bottles, and fibers (“The Basics: Polymer Definition and Properties”). Natural plastics include ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Starch is an example of such a polymer. Is is widely used in paper and cloth manufacturing. On the other hand, cellular in wood, hair, spider silk, and horns are examples of protein polymers.
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Polymers exists in various forms and often include hydrogen, hydrocarbons, and carbon compounds. The latter, for example, are made up of carbon atoms that bond together. One carbon atom joins another carbon atom, thus forming a long series of atoms called a “backbone of the polymer”. Other plastics are composed of only hydrogen and carbon atoms. They include polypropylene, polyethylene, polystyrene, and poly-methyl-pentene. For instance, polyvinyl chloride comprises a chloride atom that is linked to the carbon backbone. Similarly, teflon, another type of polymer, has fluorine attached to the carbon backbone (Margolis, 2012).
Molecular Arrangements of Polymers
Managing the polymerization activity and the quenching of liquefied polymers can result in a shapeless arrangement of polymers. A formless arrangement of particles has no chain in which plastic chains tend to align themselves. An amorphous plastic is transparent, which makes it useful in the production of headlight lenses, food wraps, and contact lenses.
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However, not all polymers are glassy. Opaque and translucent polymer chains may exists in a crystalline arrangement, in which all atoms, ions, and molecules are arranged in a distinct pattern. Just like the quenching of polymers, during which formless substances are produced, the dispensation of polymers helps manage the level of crystals in plastics (Margolis, 2012). The higher the level of crystals in plastic, the less light can pass through a polymer. Thus, the grade of opaqueness or the translucency of plastics is directly linked to its level of crystallinity. Similarly, the strength, stiffness, chemical resistance, and stability of plastics depend on its crystalline structure (“The Basics: Polymer Definition and Properties”).
The production of plastics involves various process. The first step is the purification in an oil refinery. The cleansing process involves the dissolution of crude oil into light groups that are referred to as fractions. Each fraction is a mixture of hydrocarbon chains. These chains differ in their structure and size of their molecules. Naphtha is an essential element in the production of plastics. Further, polymerization and poly-condensation are among the main processes that take place in the production of plastics. These methods require a specific catalyst for the success of the operation. During the process of polymerization, for example, a monomer like ethylene is used to form long polymer chains (“How Plastic is Made”).
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Characteristics of Polymers and Their Application
Most of the manufactured polymers are thermostatic. Thermoplastic polymer can be recycled and used many times in the manufacturing of new products. Similarly, plastics can be very resistant to chemicals. This characteristics enables them to be used in the packaging of chemicals. As a result, they are useful in the prevention of the contact of various toxic subsances with the human skin. Since plastics are poor conductors of electricity, they are also used in the production of electrical and thermal insulators.
Further, polymers are rather light. Due to this property, they are used in a variety of industries that range from toys production to the manufacture of space-station equipment. Besides, plastics tend to float on water while other materials sinks. Comparing the weight of concrete, copper, stone, or aluminum to the weight of plastics, it is evident that all polymers are lightweight materials (“The Basics: Polymer Definition and Properties”).
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In the modern world, people use plastics in the majority of industries and spheres of life. For example, in the transportation sector, plastics are used to carry luggage from one place to another. In the health care sphere, doctors and other health care practitioners widely use plastic syringes and other tools made of polymers. In the field of electronics, plastics are used to insulate electronic devices such as iron boxes. In addition, plastics are used in the production of mobile phones and other electronic devices (“Use of Plastics”).
Plastics, also known as polymers, play a vital role in the today’s world. People use these substances in domestic and industrial sphere. For example, plastic is widely used in the production of various modern high-tech devices, automobiles, clothes, and other merchandize. Different firms prefer using plastics due to its unique properties: polymers are recyclable, flexible, cheap, and reliable.