Material Inquiry: Plastic

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by Strothoff16
Last updated 6 years ago


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Material Inquiry: Plastic

Where does it come from? How was it made?

Negative Impact of Plastic


Plastic is a man made chemical material that was first invented around 1950.The first version of plastic was invented by Alexander Parks an engineer and inventor from England. He mixed camphour, a waxy solid with a strong smell and nitrocellulose together to make it. The problem with this first version of plastic is that it caught fire and burned very easily.The next innovator who improved plastic was Leo Baekland. He named his innovated plastic Bakelite. Mr. Baekland added new chemicals called phenol and formaldehyde. These chemcials allowed Bakelite plastic to be molded into particular shapes and keep that shape even when it was heated.

Positive Impact of Plastic

Click the paper clip to see how plastic is used in our everyday life.

Plastic is made from natural gas and pertrolium which is a non renewable resource. Workers need to drill deep into our earth to extract/remove the oil needed to create plastic. This hurts the earth and destroyes animal haibtats.Plastic is also a material that the earth can not break down and digest. According to the Irish company Down2Earth, it takes a plastic water bottle 70-450 years to decompose completely. When it finally does break down it released toxic chemicals into our earth and water that are slowly poisioning our food and water chain.

Plastic is a very strong material, it doesn't break easily and you can mold and shape it into anything you want it to be.Plastic packaging protects food from spoiling and keeps it fresh for longer.Our health care system relies heavily on plastics and plastics have made medical care more effective and safe. Plastic disposable needles help to make sure diseases are less easily spread, blood bags mades of plastic provide for safe and lightweight transporation of life saving blood. Heart valves made of plastic allow for the possibility of life saving heart operations. Hearing aids increase quality of life for indivudals who are hard of hearing. Plastic has provided many benifits to our society.



How Plastic Bags are Made

Plastic heart valve

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Change in Material Use: The plastic revolution

Plastic is the arguably the most veristile material on the planet. Because of it's ability to be molded into any shape needed. Humans have used plastic to replaced many of the natural based materials we once used. It took the place of the natural material ivory (from the tusks of elephants), steel in cars, paper and glass packaging, and wood in furniture. It has replaced animal hair in things like tooth brushes, hair brushes, brooms and cleaning tools. Plastics are in all forms of electronics and helped moderen society develop the computer and microchip. It is on the most used materials in modren society.

Bird with plastic in it's stomach


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