Plastics have a glorious history. Plastic may be the object of many jokes, but this synthetic material, born by chance in a laboratory in the 1850s, is a veritable miracle of modern science, a technological advance that permeates every aspect of life.
Durable plastic is everywhere; garbage bags, socks, computers, beverage bottles, telephones, cars, and even the nose of the Concorde supersonic plane. Plastics go by many names: Lycra, Teflon, Styrofoam, Astroturf, Plexiglass, synthetic fluorescent resins, celluloid, Cylon, Nylon, and more.
The saga of plastics is first and foremost a story of innovation; it illustrates how a scientific breakthrough can be incrementally refined and refined over decades into thousands of reliable, easy-to-manufacture commercial products. This process has become the hallmark of economic development in this millennium.
The development of plastics can be traced back to the mid-19th century, when chemists in Britain mixed different chemicals to meet the needs of the booming textile industry, hoping to create bleaches and dyes. Chemists are particularly fond of coal tar, the curd-like waste that coagulates from the smokestacks of natural gas-fueled factories.
William Henry Platinum, a laboratory assistant at the Royal Institute of Chemistry in London, was one of those who carried out the experiment. One day, when Platinum was wiping off a chemical spilled on a lab bench, he discovered that the rag was dyed a lavender color that was rare at the time. This serendipitous discovery brought platinum into the dyeing industry and eventually became a millionaire.
Although the discovery of platinum was not plastic, the serendipitous discovery is significant because it shows that man-made compounds can be obtained by manipulating natural organic materials. Manufacturers have realized that many natural materials such as wood, amber, rubber, glass, etc. are either too scarce, too expensive or not elastic enough to be mass-produced. Synthetic materials are ideal substitutes, which can both change shape under heat and pressure and retain their shape after cooling.
Colin Williamson, founder of the London Society for the History of Plastics, said: "At that time people were faced with finding a cheap and easy to change shape alternative." After platinum, another Briton, Alexander Parkes, mixed chloroform with castor oil Together, they get a substance as hard as animal horns, the first man-made plastic. Parks hopes to use the man-made plastic to replace rubber, which is not widely available due to growing, harvesting and processing costs.
Blacksmith-turned-New Yorker John Wesley Hyatt tried to make billiard balls out of man-made materials instead of ivory. Although he didn't solve the problem, he discovered that by mixing camphor with a certain amount of solvent, you could get a material that changed shape when heated. Hyatt called this material celluloid. This new type of plastic has the properties of being mass-produced with machines and unskilled workers. It brought to the film industry a strong and flexible transparent material capable of projecting images onto walls.
Celluloid also contributed to the development of the home recording industry, and eventually replaced the early cylindrical records. Later plastics could be used to make vinyl records, cassette tapes; finally, polycarbonate made laser records. Nowadays, the plastics of many musical instruments are made of celluloid, such as accordions.
Celluloid made photography a very marketable activity. Before George Eastman developed celluloid, photography was an expensive and tedious hobby because photographers had to develop the film themselves. Eastman came up with a new idea: Customers send finished film to his shop, and he develops the film for the customer. Celluloid was the first transparent material that could be thinned and rolled up to fit in a camera.
It was around this time that Eastman met a young Belgian immigrant, Leo Baekland. Baekeland discovered a printing paper that was particularly sensitive to light. Eastman bought Baekeland's invention for $750,000 ($2.5 million in today's dollars). With the funds on hand, Beckland built a laboratory. And in 1907 invented phenolic plastic.
The new material was a huge success, with products made of phenolic plastic including telephones, insulated cables, buttons, aircraft propellers, and billiard balls of excellent quality. Opposite our factory, there is also a company that makes phenolic plastics. The well-known domestic company is Shengquan Group, which is also my former customer.
The Parker Pen Company makes a variety of fountain pens from phenolic plastic. To demonstrate the sturdiness of phenolic plastic, the company gave a public demonstration to the public, dropping pens from high-rise buildings. Time magazine dedicated a cover article to the inventor of phenolic plastic and the material that can be "used a thousand times"
A few years later, DuPont's laboratory also made another breakthrough by accident: making nylon, a product called rayon. In 1930, Wallace Carothers, a scientist working in the DuPont laboratory, dipped a heated glass rod into a long-molecular organic compound and obtained a very elastic material. Although clothes made of early nylon melted under the heat of the iron, its inventor, Carothers, continued to work on it, and about eight years later, DuPont introduced nylon.
Nylon has been widely used in the field, and supplies such as parachutes and shoelaces are made of nylon. But avid users of women's nylons. On May 15, 1940, American women snapped up 5 million pairs of nylon stockings produced by DuPont. Nylon stockings were in short supply, and some merchants began to pretend to be nylon stockings with stockings.
But nylon's success story had a tragic end: Carothers, its inventor, committed suicide by taking cyanide. Steven Fenichell, author of Plastics, said: "My impression after reading Carothers' diary was that Carothers had no idea that the material he invented was used to make women's clothes. Socks was terribly frustrated. He was an academic, and that made him feel overwhelmed." He felt that his main achievement would be thought of as nothing more than the invention of a "mundane commercial product."
While DuPont revels in the popularity of its products. The British discovered many uses for plastic in the military during the war. This discovery was made by accident. During an unrelated experiment, scientists at the Royal Chemicals laboratory found a white, waxy precipitate at the bottom of the test tube. After testing, it was found that this substance is an excellent insulating material, and its properties are different from glass, and radar waves can pass through it. Scientists call it polyethylene, and use it to build a shelter for the radar station, allowing the radar to pick up enemy aircraft in rainy and foggy climates.
Williamson of the Society for the History of Plastics said: "There are two factors that have pushed the invention of plastic forward. One is the desire to make money, and the other is war." However, it was the ensuing decades that made plastic truly pennywise. Chell calls it the hallmark of the "synthetic century." In the 1950s, household products such as food containers, water jugs, and soap boxes made of plastic appeared; in the 1960s, there were inflatable chairs. By the 1970s, as environmentalists pointed out that plastics do not degrade on their own. Enthusiasm for plastic products has waned.
However, in the 1980s and 1990s, plastics further consolidated their position due to the huge demand for plastics in the automobile and computer manufacturing industries. It is impossible to deny this ubiquitous mundane matter. Fifty years ago, the world produced only tens of thousands of tons of plastic each year; today, the world produces more than 100 million tons of plastic annually. The United States produces more plastic each year than steel, aluminum and copper combined. Nearly 80% of the plastic modification industry we are focusing on is automotive plastics, and the other is 3C and home appliance plastics.
Novelty new plastics are still being discovered. Williamson of the Society for the History of Plastics said: "Designers and inventors will be using plastic in the next millennium, and there is no family of materials that will allow designers and inventors to do their own very cheaply like plastic. Invention. ABS plastic is added with silicone oil and dimethicone, silicone oil, which has physiological inertness, good chemical stability, electrical and weather resistance, wide viscosity range, low freezing point, high flash point, good hydrophobicity, and has High shear resistance. It can form a permanent waterproof, mildew-proof and insulating film. It can be used to treat insulating devices to improve the insulating performance of the device: it can be used to treat various plastic resins to prevent mildew; The preparation is lost due to sticking to the wall; the surface used can lubricate, reduce friction and prolong product life.
Adding silicone oil to ABS resin, because the silicone oil contains a lot of flame-retardant silicon element, and the Si-O bond energy is much larger than the CC bond energy, so it has better flame resistance, and the ABS silicone oil is blended. The flame retardant properties can reach the UL-94V-1 standard. If it is combined with some other flame retardants, it can meet higher flame retardant requirements and can replace the flame retardant systems of organic halides and antimony trioxide commonly used in the past.
The 21st century is a new stage of rapid development of new materials. The R&D, production and processing of plastics and rubber provides one million possibilities for new materials. The comprehensive consideration of material properties and downstream application requirements, combined with cost-effectiveness and other factors, is the driving force for plastics people to explore, and additives play an important role in this.