What is the most common type of plastic?
- Plastics are made from the products of cracking of petroleum fractions such as alkenes molecules through addition polymerisation.
- Plastics are the largest group of synthetic polymers with the following properties:
- Can be easily moulded and coloured
- Low density
- Inert to chemicals
- Insulator of heat and electricity
- Table shows some examples of commonly used plastics, how they are formed, their properties and uses.
|Name of polymer||Equation for polymerisation||Properties||Uses|
|Durable, light, impermeable, inert to chemicals, easily melted, insulator||Shopping bags, plastic cups and plates, toys|
|Durable, light, impermeable, inert to chemicals, easily melted, insulator, can be moulded and coloured||Bottles, furniture, battery casing, pipes, toys|
|Polyvinyl chloride (polychloroethene)||Low softening temperature, durable, elastic, can be coloured||Pipes, pipe fittings, wire and cable casing, raincoats, footwear, bags|
|Polystyrene||Heat insulator, light, can be moulded, impermeable||Disposable cups and plates, packaging materials, toys, heat insulators.|
|Perspex||Transparent, strong, light||Replacement for glass, lenses and optical fibres|
|Teflon||Durable, non-stick, chemically inert, strong, impermeable||Coatings for non-stick pans, electrical insulators|
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- Synthetic rubbers are elastomers that are elastic and can regain their original length and shape after being stretched and pressed.
- The structure of synthetic rubbers is similar to that of natural rubber.
- Synthetic rubbers are produced by addition polymerisation.
- Neoprene and styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) are examples of synthetic rubber.
- Neoprene is elastic and resistant to oil and is suitable to make rubber host and toys.
- Styrene-butadiene rubber, SBR rubber is very suitable for making car tires and shoes because it is elastic and hard.