Sources of Plastic: Origination & Involved Processes

Plastics are everywhere. You’d be hard pressed to go through your day without running in to hundreds of plastic objects- whether it’s at your work or in your home, plastic materials are an everyday occurrence.

Stephens Plastic Injection Moulding has provided a resource for us to learn more about plastics. Here’s a brief overview.

  1. Plastics are either naturally found or synthetically man-made.
  2. The majority of everyday plastics are synthetic.
  3. From crude oil compounds are formed called polymers – which is plastic.

Here’s a more detailed description of the process from converting crude oil to plastic.

  1. During the process of refining crude oil, paraffin, lubricating oil, and petrol are byproducts.
  2. These are then broken down in to monomers, which is a chemical substance consisting of one molecule.
  3. When 100s of monomers are linked together this is called polymerisation. The compounds formed are called Polymers and plastic is the common name for Polymers.

Most polymers are compounds made from combining carbon with another element like hydrogen, nitrogen, chlorine, or fluorine.

Natural plastics are found in naturally occurring objects. Here’s the process.

  1. Animals from which horn and milk, which are used to make glue are obtained.
  2. Plants from which cellulose can be extracted.
  3. Insects provide shellac, which is the polish.
  4. Trees provide amber, latex, and resin.

Interested? Read on below.

Plastics-Infographic