Plastics are synthetic, organic, and non-biodegradable materials made from a wide range of chemical compounds. Although there are various types of plastics, they all share some basic components. The main parts of plastic are polymers, plasticizers, and plastic parts
Polymers are the building blocks of plastic. They are long chains of molecules made from repeating units called monomers.
The type of monomer used determines the properties of the polymer and the type of plastic produced. For example, polyethylene is made from the monomer ethylene, while polystyrene is made from the monomer styrene.
Polymers are the main structural components of plastic, and they determine its physical properties, such as strength, durability, and flexibility.
Plasticizers are added to polymers to make them more flexible and easier to shape. They are low molecular weight compounds that are added to plastics to increase their flexibility and softness. Without plasticizers, most plastics would be hard and brittle. Some common plasticizers include phthalates, adipates, and citrates.
Additives are added to polymers to enhance or modify their properties. They can be added during the polymerization process or during the manufacturing process. Some common additives include antioxidants, UV stabilizers, and flame retardants.
Antioxidants prevent the plastic from degrading due to exposure to oxygen, UV stabilizers prevent the plastic from degrading due to exposure to UV radiation, and flame retardants make the plastic less flammable.
In addition to these main parts, there are other components of plastic that contribute to its properties and performance. Fillers are added to polymers to increase their strength and stiffness. They are usually inorganic materials, such as glass fibers or silica.
Pigments are added to polymers to give them color, and lubricants are added to make them easier to process.
The specific combination of these components determines the properties of the plastic. For example, a plastic made from high-density polyethylene with no plasticizers or additives will be stiff and hard, while a plastic made from low-density polyethylene with plasticizers and fillers will be flexible and strong.
It is important to note that not all plastics are created equal. Some plastics are more environmentally friendly than others, and some are easier to recycle. Bioplastics, for example, are made from renewable resources, such as corn or sugarcane, and are biodegradable.
However, not all bioplastics are biodegradable, and some require specific conditions to break down.
In conclusion, the main parts of plastic are polymers, plasticizers, and additives. Polymers are the building blocks of plastic, plasticizers make them more flexible and easier to shape, and additives enhance or modify their properties.
Fillers, pigments, and lubricants are also added to plastics to improve their properties. The specific combination of these components determines the properties of the plastic, such as strength, durability, and flexibility.