Before plastics and polymers, people used wood, steel, and other natural materials to create things like baskets, cabinets, and other components. But today, you can’t go anywhere without finding polymer parts. From your car to your computer to almost every aspect of your life, polymers have been able to change the world!

What is a polymer?

polymer-materialsPolymers have always been around us, such as natural rubber, but in just the last century great advancements have been made in producing all sorts of man-made polymers with different properties to allow for such great advancements in recent years. A polymer is just a long chain of repeating molecules that is a staple of biology. Made of things like carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen, these simple molecules can do amazing things.

The Use Of Polymers

types-of-polymersThe various properties possessed by these polymers is insane. You can have elastic polymers, you can have ductile polymers, brittle polymers, and so on. It just depends on the task you need the polymer to do. Another benefit is that polymers can be made at a significantly lower cost than metal or wood products allowing for everything to be made even cheaper. On top of that, polymers are lighter than wood or metal, making things like cars lighter and improving fuel economy. However, polymers aren’t perfect as many man-made polymers are made from crude oil which isn’t good for our environment and isn’t limitless. These polymers are hard to dispose of as they take forever to decompose. Some of our plastic ends up in the ocean which ends up damaging the local wildlife there. So while plastics can be used effectively, people have to take care to throw away many plastic components, as most plastic products can be recycled and reused, limiting our impact on the environment.

use-of-polymersSome of the amazing products that have been developed thanks to polymers:

  • Kevlar Bulletproof Vests
  • Fire Resistant Suits for Fireman and Racer drivers
  • Tuba-ware for leftovers
  • Handgun frames for pistols
  • Paper/Plastic plates, cups, utensils
  • Paper towels
  • Rubber for car tires/shoes
  • Rubber bands
  • Wetsuits
  • Grocery Bags
  • PVC
  • Styrofoam
  • Hoses
  • Credit Cards
  • Carpet
  • Paper
  • Textiles
  • Reflective film
  • Car body panels
  • Non-stick pans
  • Electrical insulation
  • Anything made of plastic!