Learning about plastics
Take a look around you! Chances are that you will find at least one thing made of plastic material. Plastics are used everywhere these days. They help to make our lives easier, safer, more convenient, and more enjoyable. Plastics provide an environmentally sound and cost-effective solution for many design challenges and technology breakthroughs. Think about the clothes we wear, the houses we live in, and how we travel. Think also about our leisure pursuits, the televisions we watch, the computers we use and the CDs we listen to. Whether we are shopping in a supermarket, having major surgery or merely brushing our teeth, plastics are part of our lives!
Plastics in your life!
From electrical appliances, to medical equipment, packaging, automobiles and space travel, plastics are an essential part of our lives. Why? Because plastics are versatile, lightweight, safe, durable, and cost efficient!
Plastics can be formed into an enormous variety of complex shapes and facilitate design solutions in thousands of applications. They are rigid or flexible, solid or porous. Just think of the difference between a telephone, a bottle and a plastics bag to see the sort of variety that exists.
Compared with other materials plastics are very light.
This provides a number of advantages:
- Less raw material consumed
- Less energy in production
- Easier handling/carrying
- Less fuel in transport
- Less air pollution in transport
Plastics provide hygienic and protective solutions. Although they are lightweight, plastics are also extremely strong, which means they can be used in the most demanding of situations. As they are shatterproof and can be made almost unbreakable, plastics are widely used in areas where safety is of utmost importance - e.g. food and drink packaging and healthcare. Many of the new safety features in modern cars rely heavily on plastics.
Plastics provide durable and tough solutions. They do not corrode or decompose with the passage of time. Durability and weather resistance means they are ideal for long-life applications like building and construction, keeping maintenance to a minimum - e.g. exterior or underground cables and pipes. Plastics can absorb impact through knocks and bumps, making them ideal for the exterior parts of lighter cars. The use of engineering plastics has become essential in many critical automotive applications.
Plastics reduce production and supply-chain costs in several ways. They reduce energy used in manufacture and enable complex shapes to replace multi-components assemblies. High-speed form-fill-seal packaging lines increase factory throughputs and avoid wasteful operations such as moving empty containers. Plastics' light weight reduces fuel consumption during transport.