The raw materials for plastics come from crude oil. While the term plastic describes any material one can shape or mold into any form, including some naturally occurring plastics, most of the plastics humans use today are man-made, according to HowStuffWorks.Know More
Petrochemicals are rich in carbon, and most plastics are large carbon-containing molecules called polymers. A polymer includes repeating units called monomers, which are shorter chain carbon compounds. The arrangement of the carbon chains within the plastic determines its chemical properties. Once plastics form, they become chemically inert, making them ideal for storage of other materials. Alcohol, gasoline, water, soap and acids are often stored in plastic without dissolving the container. The highly moldable material forms bottles, cups, toys, car parts and insulation for electrical wiring.
Plastics are not without problems, however. As they don't react chemically, plastics are slow to decay, even when buried under the soil. Materials made of plastic remain in landfills for centuries. Many government and environmental programs recommend recycling plastics.
A second problem with plastics is that crude oil is a non-renewable natural resource. In order to combat this problem, scientists are working on new technologies to make plastics from renewable resources. Corn oil and other biological sources are potential raw materials. Such plastics are more likely to biodegrade naturally, helping with the environmental problems of plastics, according to HowStuffWorks.Learn more about Manufacturing
Gasoline is made when refineries break down the hydrocarbons found in crude oil. Crude oil is formed from the remains of animals and aquatic plants that lived billions of years ago and have been covered in sediment and exposed to high temperatures and extreme pressure.Full Answer >
Pencil sharpeners come in a variety of forms made from plastic, wood or metal and feature a cylindrical, interior pocket that is equipped with a filing material or a blade, which is the component used to cut the point of a pencil when turned. The first pencil sharpener was constructed in 1828 and made of wood and a metal file that sat at a 90-degree angle, according to the Early Office Museum.Full Answer >
Plastic cups are made from polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, a highly durable polyester plastic that resists both hot and cold temperatures and is fairly crack resistant. Through a process known as injection molding, the PET is mixed as a liquid, injected into cup-shaped molds and then cooled and solidified.Full Answer >
Slitter operators maintain and operate machines that modify metal or plastic. The machines cut, crimp, notch, bend or punch the materials. Slitter operators also grind out edges and examine the material for defects.Full Answer >