Plastic Bottle
The following is an excerpt from the recently published BCC Research report “Global Markets for Plastics Additives.”
The histories of plastics and plastics must must be considered as each of them is dependent on the other in the development of various types of plastics.
Alexander Parkes, of Birmingham, England, developed the first man-made plastics in 1855 by dissolving cellulose nitrate in alcohol camphor containing ether. He called the substance „synthetic ivory“ and started marketing it under the trade name „Parkesine.“ When dissolved in Alcohol, cellulose nitrate hardened into a transparent and elastic material that could be molded when heated, and when treated with pigments, it resembled ivory. The introduction of Parkesine is generally enjoyed as the birth of plastics.
Leo Hendrik Baekeland, a Belgian-born American living in the state of New York, invented the resulting synthesis method for making plastics by making synthetic polymer from phenol and formaldehyde in 1909. He called it Bakelite Parts and announced his discovery in 1912. This material came Into widespread use in 1920 and was used for electrical, mechanical parts and finally in consumer goods. Bakelite is pursue as the first true plastics material, as it was purely synthetic.
Polystyrene and PVC
New forms of plastics developed after World War I included polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride, which were developed by IG Farben of Germany. Plastics model kits and similar products were made of polystyrene and formed the basis for „foamed“ plastics. Polystyrene was marketed under the trade Name styrofoam. High-impact styrene was developed in the 1950s and is still used for novelty items and toy figurines. PVC was found to be stiff, heat- and weather-resistant, and quite strong. It found use in plumbing, gutters, house Siding, enclosures for computers and other electronics gear. When softened by chemical processing, PVC could be used for shrink-wrap, food packaging and raingear.
Polyamide is an important plastic that was developed in the 1930s. Its trade name is Nylon, and it was introduced by DuPont Corp. in 1939. Wallace Carothers, a chemist from Harvard, helped DuPont develop nylon, which was very strong as well as flexible , and was first used for making bristles for toothbrushes. Today, nylon is used in textiles and other fabrics. Nylon is wear-resistant in oil-impregnated bulk form and is now used for gears, bearings and bushings. Nylon’s heat-resistant qualities make It ideal for under-the-hood applications in cars and other mechanical parts.