One of the most produced materials in the world is plastics. So what is plastic? How is it produced? Let’s take a look at the unknowns about this.
Plastics find a place in a significant part of human life. Although it is not a natural product, plastic production is made from organic products. In general, although the word plastic evokes the same thing to everyone, there are actually different types of this substance.
However, plastic production is carried out after very similar processes. The journey that starts with crude oil can end with many different products. Plastic takes a special place among them.
From crude oil to plastic
Processing of crude oil begins with a process called fraction. This process is part of the distillation process. Crude oil does not consist of a single type of substance, it is a complex structure with thousands of components. These structures are separated in the fraction. This process takes place according to the weight of the substances.
Each fraction has a different hydrocarbon structure. Among these structures consisting of hydrogen and carbon chains, naphtha has an important place in plastic production.
After this process, polymerization and polycondensation processes are carried out using various catalysts. In the polycondensation of these processes, two different types of chains are connected, for example hydrocarbon chains, while a single monomer sample is combined in the polymerization process. Monomers containing a single substance used in these processes also determine the properties of the product to emerge.
There are many different types of plastics. In addition, plastics of the same type can be classified according to various quality levels. There are also many different standards for these classifications. These standards also determine the usage areas of the substances.
The two main types of polymers are thermoplastics and thermosets. Thermoplastics are structures that melt when faced with heat and harden again when cooled. This situation is not observed in thermosets.
Among the thermoplastic samples, PVC (Polyvinylchloride) is the most well known. Among the thermosets, polyurethanes (PUR) are especially famous. There are many other types of plastics in these categories.
Plastics are very difficult to produce and can remain intact for a very long time. For this reason, it is very important to recycle plastic products and not throw them away randomly.