The Basics of Polymer- Definition & its Properties:
If you're after basic information on plastic materials, this is the place to find it!! Here we will tell you about the definition and properties of polymers, the building blocks of plastics.
Plastics are polymers.
So what is a polymer?
The simplest definition of a polymer is something made of many units. Think of a polymer as a chain. Each link of the chain is the "-mer" or basic unit that is usually made of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and/or silicon. To make the chain, many links or "-mers" are hooked or polymerized together. Polymerization can be demonstrated by linking countless strips of construction paper together to make paper garlands or hooking together hundreds of paper clips to form chains, or by a string of beads.
The Structure of Polymers:
An ordinary polyethylene film has a molecular weight around 300,000. By way of comparison carbon-di-oxide and water have molecular weights of 44 and 18 respectively. Due to its very high molecular weight, plastic has high tensile strength, toughness, and percentage of elongation it is remain in the environment for decades.
Many common classes of polymers are composed of hydrocarbons. These polymers are specifically made of small units bonded into long chains. Carbon makes up the backbone of the molecule and hydrogen atoms are bonded along the backbone. There are polymers that contain only carbon and hydrogen. Polypropylene, polybutylene, polystyrene and polymethylpentene are examples of these.
Molecular Arrangement of Polymers:
Think of how spaghetti noodles look on a plate. This is similar to how polymers can be arranged if they lack a specific for or are amorphous. Controlling and quenching the polymerization process can result in amorphous organization. An amorphous arrangement of molecules has no long-range order or form in which the polymer chains arrange them. Amorphous polymers are generally transparent. This is an important characteristic for many applications such as food wrap, plastic windows, headlights and contact lenses.
Scientists and engineers are always producing better materials by manipulating the molecular structure that affects the final polymer produced. Manufacturers and processors introduce various fillers, reinforcements and additives into the base polymers, expanding product possibilities. Polymers affect every day of our life. These materials have so many varied characteristics and applications that their usefulness can only be measured by our imagination. Polymers are the materials of past, present and future generations.
Types of Degradable: Four different types of degradable polymers, around the world, are in the market:-
Hydro degradable polymers:
Some degradable plastic products are based on starch, and whilst non-food uses of agriculture may seem attractive, they are not the best way forward. Some of these plastics perforate over time but do not totally degrade, because the starch constituent is consumed by microbial activity, but not the plastic. The plastic residues can be harmful to the soil and to birds and insects.
These products have the same disadvantage as starch they are also expensive.
Photodegradable polymers are those that break down through the action of ultraviolet (UV) light, which degrades the chemical bond or link in the polymer or chemical structure of the plastic. This process can be assisted by the presence of UV-sensitive additives in the polymer. They will not therefore degrade if buried in a landfill, a compost heap, or other dark environment, or if heavily overprinted.
Oxo-biodegradable polymers are the most effective and economic of the new plastics is based on oxo-degradation and has become known as oxo-biodegradable, or "totally degradable," A special additive is included in the manufacturing process of conventional plastic, which changes the behavior of the plastic. This plastic that undergo controlled degradation through the incorporation of 'prodegradant' additives (additives that can trigger and accelerate the degradation process).
Oxo-biodegradable plastics are entirely compatible with the principle of recycling and will not cause problem in recycling. The company is pioneered in the research and development of oxo-biodegradable plastic. Its technology is much more superior over the earlier technologies available in other parts of the world. The best part of this technology is that, you don't have to change any of your machinery OR the system to manufacture the same.
How Does this work? Please see below video : -
Few Advantages over starch-based Plastics:
Will biodegrade and no need to bury in a compost heap or landfill in order to degrade. This is an important factor in relation to litter, because a large amount of plastic waste on land and at sea cannot be collected and buried.
Can be used for direct food contact, but will degrade as well or better.
Will completely degrade even in the absence of microbial activity. Governments are discouraging disposal of organic material to landfill, so there will be fewer bacteria in landfill pits upon which the starch-based plastics rely in order to degrade.
Are much cheaper to produce.
Are thinner and use less material to produce.
Require less energy to manufacture and transport.
Do not leak, and are therefore suitable for wet waste.
Can be made transparent.
Leave no residual plastic particles.
No danger of genetically-modified ingredients.
Oxo Bio Degradable Plastics is recyclable, before the degradation process initiates.
Starch-based biodegradable plastics are not much use in the fight against litter as they need to be in a microbial environment such as a landfill or compost heap in order to degrade.
Comparison with PAPER:
Paper is more expensive and uses more energy it requires to produce.
It is already one of the principal forms of litter.
For many uses, paper bags are not an alternative to plastic bags. They are not durable, especially when wet, they are not re-usable, and paper degrades less readily than oxo-biodegradable plastic.
Many people, especially those on low incomes living alone, use carrier bags for the disposal of their wet kitchen waste. Paper bags are not suitable for this purpose.
Bags for Life:
Re-usable shopping bags are not the answer either, because
Those bags themselves when discarded become a very durable form of litter because plastic re-usable bags are made from much heavier plastic the total tonnage of plastic discharged into the environment may even be increased, contrary to the principle of waste minimalisation.
The bags are much heavier and more expensive, and a large number of them would be required to accommodate the weekly shopping for an average family. The bags are not hygienic if re-used without being cleansed.
In any event shoppers do not always go to the shop from home where the re-usable bags would normally be kept.
Have adequate tensile strength, elongation and printable.
Generally possess properties that resemble low-density. Polyethylene (LDPE) or high-density polyethylene (HDPE) in overall physical properties and theological characteristics.
Oxo Biodegradable Plastics is recyclable, before the degradation process initiates.
You don't have to change any of your machinery OR the system to manufacture Oxo Bio Degradable products.
Films/bags can be made in transparent too.
It is totally degrades in to carbon dioxide, water and bio mass.