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SYNTHETIC MATERIALS

IN INDUSTRY
7.1 : Synthetic Polymers

SYNTHETIC MATERIALS
IN INDUSTRY
There are 3 type of synthetics
material in industry
Synthetic polymer
Synthetic rubber
Plastics

SYNTHETICS POLYMER
-Man made polymer
Process of making synthetic polymers.
- Through polymerisation
Two types of polimerisations

A polymer made up of monomer units of the


same kind

Type Of Synthetics Polymer


Type of polymer

Uses

Polyethane

Cling Film, Plastic bags, sheets and bottles

Polyvinyl chloride
(PVC)

Furniture, waterproof and insulating materials

Polystyrene

Packaging foam, fast food cartons and cups

Teflon

Iron pots, saucepans, bridge bearings and


inside lining of engine parts

Nylon

Stocking, clothing, ropes, fishing lines and


toothbrush bristles

Perspex

Glass substitute

Polyesters
(Terylene)

Cotton and wool substitute in clothings, tyre


cord and safety belt

Synthetic Rubber
Are elastic synthetic polymers
Specially made for specific purposes
General characteristic:
- resistant to heat, water and oil
- able to withstand bad weather
- non-reactive to chemical substances (acid,
alkaline, organic solution)
- air-tight
- good heat and electric insulator

Synthetic Rubber

examples of use:
Products
Balloons, gloves,
raincoats

Reasons
Elastic and water
resistant

Fan belts, gaskets and Elastic, strong, resistant


hoses
to oil and heat
Teats of baby
bottles

Soles of shoes and


tyres

Clear, easy to clean,


odourless and not sticky
Can be vulcanised easily

comparison between natural rubber and synthetic rubber:


Natural Rubber

Similarities

Synthetic Rubber

Both are polymers


Both can be vulcanized
Both are good heat and electric insulator
Differences
Sticky when heated

Heat resistance

Not sticky when heated

Reacts with acid, alkali,


organic solution

Chemical resistance

Doesnt react with acid,


alkali, organic solution

Yes/high

Ability to absorb vibration

No/low

Yes/high

Ability to absorb sound

No/low

Yes/high

Ability to absorb pressure

No/low

High

Flexibility

No

high

Elasticity

No

Synthetic Rubber Goods Made


Up of a Combination of Natural
and synthetics Rubber
Some rubber objects today are made up of a combination of
natural and synthetic rubber
Example- tyres (Vulcanised natural rubber + synthetic rubber)
- Soles of shoes
- lining of engines and cushines
Properties:
a) can withstand heat
b) Reduces the rate of oxidation of tyres

SYNTHETIC MATERIALS
IN INDUSTRY
7.2 : Plastics

Plastics
Are synthetic polymers
Have wide variety depend on their properties
General characteristics:
- cheaper compared to metals, woods or glass
- flexible
- easily moulded into different shapes
- strong and light
- good insulators of heat and electricity
- resistant to chemicals
- resistant to attack of microorganism, therefore
non-biodegradable

Examples of the common types of plastics:

Types of plastics

Characteristics

Examples

Polyvinylchloride

Tough, flexible, cheap to


produce, easy to print on

Credit cards, IC

Polystyrene

Can either be foam or rigid.


Clean, lightweight, water
resistant

Food container
(foam), plastic toys
(rigid)

Polythene

Comes in two types: low


density and high density

Low density : straws


High density : wash
basins

Polyamide

Also known as nylon

Bristle of toothbrush

Polyethylene
terephthalate (PET)

Strong recyclable plastic

Bottles of
carbonated drinks

Polyurethane

Strong and lightweight

Wheels of
skateboard

Plastics can be divided into two


main groups according to their
thermal properties :
i. Thermoplastics and
ii. Thermosetts/thermosetting
plastics (thermo = heat)

Comparison of thermoplastics and thermosetting


plastics:

Thermoplastics
Soft when heated

Thermosetting plastics
Blister when heated

Can be remoulded

Cannot be remoulded

Recyclable

Non-recyclable

Unbreakable

Breakable

Not resistant to heat

Heat resistant

Polyethane, PVC,
Polystyrene, perspex,
nylon, polyester

Bakelite, melamine,
epoxy

Thermoplastic

thermoset

Disposal of Polymers
Synthetic polymers are non-biodegradable
Synthetic polymers cannot be decomposed in landfills
So, we need to reduce the amount of this wastes. How to do?
- through recycling and reuse
- using degradable synthetic polymers
[classified into biodegradable (can be decomposed by
microorganisms) and photodegradable (decomposed
rapidly when exposed to bright light)].
Most synthetic polymers are made from petroleum. Will produce
lot of heat when burnt. This energy can be converted into
electricity. This process is known as incineration with energy
recovery.