Plastic is something we are all way too familiar with. We use it everywhere in just about everything. But what is plastic? Plastic is a word that first meant something that was easily shaped or pliable. Recently it became the name for a group of substances called polymers. Plastic is a synthetic or semi-synthetic material that uses polymer as its main ingredient.
Plastics are very easy to make. Their moldability and property to be shaped into almost anything make them very useful. This is why today everywhere we look you can easily spot something made out of plastic. In this article, we will be focusing on the various uses of plastic and the products that are manufactured from it.
Uses Of Plastic
Look around you, exactly where you’re sitting. Reach into your pockets. Or just the literal ground. Chances are you probably just saw multiple goods made out of plastic. If nothing else, the laptop or phone you’re using to read this uses plastic as well. Thus it is pretty evident that plastic is playing a major role in all of our lives. Many of the items that we use on a daily basis are made out of plastic. Below we have listed down some of the most common and interesting uses of plastic in this time
1: Injection Molding
This process is used to produce parts on a mass scale. Although injection molding can be done through other molten materials, polymers are the most common. You inject the polymer or plastic into a cavity. The polymer is then cooled down and the product is formed. Once the product design is selected by the industrial designer, the mold maker is created. The mold maker is then filled with polymer and your desired product is created. This has made mass manufacturing of parts and products very efficient.
Companies provide services such as short run plastic injection molding. There are also mold flow analysis software that help optimize the process.
2: Makeup Industry
The makeup industry is also a big consumer of plastic. In 2018, in the US alone, 9.1 billion units of rigid plastic were created for makeup and beauty products. That is a very high number. Thus it is very evident that the makeup industry is dependent on plastic. Bottles and packaging materials for beauty cosmetic products are often made out of plastic. Even small stuff such as handles for makeup scissors can sometimes be made out of plastic. The versatility of plastic makes it a perfect fit for the ever-transforming requirements and packaging of the cosmetic world.
3: Textile Industry
Most of you probably never give it a thought but clothes have polymer in them as well. Polymer is a great barrier for moisture and helps keep your clothes dry from the inside. The next time you go out in dewy weather and your clothes remain dry, you’ll know who to thank. It is also strong and flexible. When combined with cotton it can reduce shrinking and is therefore very beneficial.
Electronics use a large quantity of plastic. Everything from your phones, laptops, tablets to your blenders and microwaves uses plastic. Its lightweight and strength make it an excellent choice. They also provide you with freedom of design. Thus allowing you to create any shape or structure you desire. This is not as easy to do with over substances such as steel or metal. They also provide heat insulation which is another big plus for electronic goods.
Another important aspect of plastic in electronics is that once they have completed their life and gone dead, the plastic can be reused. This is a positive step towards sustainability.
Packaging is perhaps the most obvious use of plastics. Styrofoam boxes, water bottles, containers, and many similar items are all made out of plastic. Again, the strength and lightweight factors come into play here. Plastics provide you with lightweight products that can carry greater weights. Thus making them the perfect material for packaging items.
Regardless of if you have a 1000$ car or a 1Million $ car, it will have plastic in it. Plastic is widely used in the automotive industry due to its lightweight nature. It is used to make parts such as side mirrors, bumpers, light caps, and many more. It is also used to insulate wires and makeup parts of the engine as well. Therefore, making it an incredibly versatile material.
Another important factor is that the use of plastic in cars helps reduce energy consumption. The lighter the weight of the cars, the less fuel they’ll consume. Hence making them fuel-efficient and budget-friendly. Carbon fiber is an alternative for the use of plastic. However, its high cost has left it as a material for luxury and high-end vehicles only.
In conclusion, we can surely say that plastic is perhaps the most used material in the world when it comes to manufacturing products. Its unique characteristics make it desirable. Thus, we can be certain that in the future we will see a continuation in the usage of plastics in the world.