Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. Materials as a field is most commonly represented by ceramics, metals, and polymers. While noted improvements have taken place in the area of ceramics and metals, it is the field of polymers that has experienced an explosion in progress.
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Plastics industryVIDEO ON THE TOPIC: Fiberglass Manufacturing How Fiberglass Is Made
Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. Materials as a field is most commonly represented by ceramics, metals, and polymers. While noted improvements have taken place in the area of ceramics and metals, it is the field of polymers that has experienced an explosion in progress. Polymers have gone from being cheap substitutes for natural products to providing high-quality options for a wide variety of applications.
Further advances and breakthroughs supporting the economy can be expected in the coming years. Polymers are derived from petroleum, and their low cost has its roots in the abundance of the feedstock, in the ingenuity of the chemical engineers who devised the processes of manufacture, and in the economies of scale that have come with increased usage.
Less than 5 percent of the petroleum barrel is used for polymers, and thus petroleum is likely to remain as the principal raw material for the indefinite future. Polymers constitute a high-value-added part of the petroleum customer base and have led to increasing international competition in the manufacture of commodity materials as well as engineering thermoplastics and specialty polymers. Polymers are now produced in great quantity and variety.
Polymers are used as film packaging, solid molded forms for automobile body parts and TV cabinets, composites for golf clubs and aircraft parts airframe as well as interior , foams for coffee cups and refrigerator insulation, fibers for clothing and carpets, adhesives for attaching anything to anything, rubber for tires and tubing, paints and other coatings to beautify and prolong the life of other materials, and a myriad of other uses.
It would be impossible to conceive of our modern world without the ubiquitous presence of polymeric materials. Polymers have become. The unique and valuable properties of polymers have their origins in the molecular composition of their long chains and in the processing that is performed in producing products. Both composition including chemical makeup, molecular size, branching and cross-linking and processing affected by flow and orientation are critical to the estimated properties of the final product.
This chapter considers the various classes of polymeric materials and the technical factors that contribute to their usefulness. In spite of the impressive advances that have been made in recent years, there are still opportunities for further progress, and failure to participate in this development will consign the United States to second-class status as a nation. The familiar categories of materials called plastics, fibers, rubbers, and adhesives consist of a diverse array of synthetic and natural polymers.
It is useful to consider these types of materials together under the general rubric of structural polymers because macroscopic mechanical behavior is at least a part of their function. Compared with classical structural materials like metals, the present usage represents a considerable broadening of the term. As shown in Table 3.
Because these materials go through several manufacturing steps before reaching the final consumer, the ultimate impact on the national economy is measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars each year.
These materials have many different chemical and physical forms, such as cross-linked versus non-cross-linked, crystalline versus amorphous, and rubbery versus glassy. More recently, structural polymers having liquid crystalline order have become important. Structural polymers are rarely used in the pure form but often contain additives in small quantities, such as antioxidants, stabilizers, lubricants, processing aids, nucleating agents, colorants, and antistatic agents or, in larger quantities, plasticizers or fillers.
There is rapid growth in the areas of blends and composites. In composites, a material of fixed shape, such as particles filler or fibers, is dispersed in a polymer matrix. The filler or fiber may be an inorganic material or another organic polymer. Blends or alloys on the other hand consist of two or more polymers mixed together and differ from composites in that the geometry of the phases is not predetermined prior to processing. Some polymers are used for many different purposes.
A good example is poly ethylene terephthalate , or PET, which was originally developed as a textile fiber. It is now used in film and tape virtually all magnetic recording tape is based on PET , as a molding material, and as the matrix for glass-filled composites. One of its largest uses is for making bottles, especially for soft drinks. PET is also used in blends with other polymers, such as polycarbonate.
The word "plastic" is frequently used loosely as a synonym for "polymer," but the meaning of "polymer'' is based on molecular size while "plastic" is defined in terms of deformability. Plastics are polymeric materials that are formed into a variety of three-dimensional shapes, often by molding or melt extrusion processes.
They retain their shape when the deforming forces are removed, unlike some other polymers such as the elastomers, which return to their original shape. Plastics are usually categorized as thermoplastics or thermosets, depending on their thermal processing behavior.
Thermoplastics are polymers that soften and flow upon heating and become hard again when cooled. This cycle can be repeated many times, which makes reprocessing during manufacturing or recycling after consumer use possible using heat fabrication techniques such as extrusion or molding. The polymer chains in thermoplastics are linear or branched and do not become cross-linked as in the case of thermosets.
While there are many different chemical types of thermoplastics, those made from only four monomers ethylene, propylene, styrene, and vinyl chloride account for about 90 percent of all thermoplastics produced in the United States Figure 3. Of these four types, polypropylene has grown most rapidly in recent years—production has increased eightfold over the past two decades.
Thermoplastic polyesters, primarily PET, are growing even more rapidly at the present time driven mainly by. Future activities will focus strongly on recycling. In the case of PET, recycling can be accomplished by chemical depolymerization to monomers or oligomers followed by repolymerization to PET or other products. Such processes are currently in use for products that come into contact with food, while simple reprocessing is used for less critical products.
The so-called engineering thermoplastics, which include the higher-performance, more expensive polymers such as the polyacetals, polycarbonates, nylons, polyesters, polysulfones, polyetherimides, some acrylonitrile butadiene styrene ABS materials, and so on, have generally exhibited stronger growth than the commodity plastics see Table 3. These materials generally have greater heat resistance and better mechanical properties than the less expensive commodity thermoplastics and, therefore, are used in more demanding applications, such as aircraft, automobiles, and appliances.
A major area of development is. TABLE 3. The area of blends and alloys is reviewed separately below. New products and advances in processes have resulted from the ring-opening polymerization of cyclic oligomers; for example, new developments in polycarbonates are particularly noteworthy.
Other new products can be expected based on copolymers, and entirely new polymers are under development. A further category sometimes referred to as high-performance engineering thermoplastics commands even higher prices for yet higher levels of performance. These include highly aromatic polymers such as poly phenylene sulfide , several new polyamides, polysulfones, and polyetherketones.
Development of new molecular structures has dominated this sector. Polymer chains with quite rigid backbones have liquid crystalline order, which offers unique structural properties as described below. Figure 3. Approximately one-third are used in packaging, primarily containers and film. The data in Figure 3. To understand the diversity of products and opportunities that is possible, it is useful to review developments that have occurred in thermoplastics based on ethylene, one of the simplest monomers possible.
Commercial production of polyethylene commenced in England during the early s using a free radical process operating at very high pressures 30, to 50, psi. The structure proved to be far more complex than the simple textbook repeat unit, —CH 2 CH 2 —, would suggest Figure 3. The backbone has short-and long-chain branches. The short-chain branches, typically four carbons long, interfere with the ability. Because the short-chain branches reduce crystallinity and, thus, density, this material is called low-density polyethylene LDPE.
In the late s, a linear or unbranched form of polyethylene was developed as a result of advances in coordination polymerization catalysis. An accidental finding by K. Ziegler in the early s at the Max Planck Institute of Mulheim, Germany, resulted in a fundamentally new approach to polyolefins. It was found that transition metal complexes could catalyze the polymerization of ethylene under mild conditions to produce linear chains with more controlled structures.
As a result, this polymer was more crystalline with higher density, and it became known as high-density polyethylene HDPE.
Similar catalytic procedures were used by G. Natta to produce crystalline polypropylene. The properties of this polymer are a result of unprecedented control of the stereochemistry of polymerization. The newer material did not replace the older one; it was used for different purposes.
The cost factor plus innovations in. It is a copolymer of ethylene and an alpha-olefin like butene-1, hexene Thus, short-chain branches of controlled length and number are introduced into the chain without any long-chain branches, and the material is called linear low-density polyethylene LLDPE; see Figure 3. As a result, the production of LDPE initially declined, but its production has been growing again since Construction of new high-pressure production facilities may be required in the next decade to meet demands.
Currently this is the only process by which copolymers can be made with polar monomers such as vinyl acetate or acrylic acid. HDPE is fabricated primarily by molding. Blow-molded food bottles and auto gasoline tanks constitute major markets. Very large containers made by rotational molding represent a specialized growth area.
A process known as "gel spinning" has been commercialized, which produces fibers of ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene. New technology based on single-site metallocenes holds promise for the production of a new range of products. This brief review of the history and future prospects for olefin polymers illustrates the need for research of all types e. These materials are complex in terms of molecular structure, and so there are many ways to tailor their behavior provided the basic knowledge and tools for structural determination are available and are integrated with innovative process technology.
Much of the present research is directed toward the design of catalysts that yield materials that are easier to process. Rapid progress has resulted from an integration of catalyst synthesis and reactor and process design. As a recent example, a new polyolefin alloy product has been developed by exposing a designed catalyst to a series of different olefin monomer feeds to produce a polymer particle that is composed of polymers with different properties. Extrusion of those particles results directly in a polymer alloy.
Structural thermoplastics are a vital part of the national economy, and considerable opportunity remains for economic growth and scientific inquiry. New specialized materials will continue to offer rewards in the marketplace. At the high-performance end, several entirely new polymer structures are likely to emerge over the next decade.
A major part of the growth in "new" materials will be in the area of blends or alloys. The vitality of thermoplastics cannot be judged only on the basis of the introduction of what might be called "new materials. This trend is expected to continue but will require greater sophistication in terms of process technology, characterization, and structure-property relationships especially modeling than has been required in the past.
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To prevent degradation when exposed to heat, cold and uv-light, plastics require stabilization. Specially designed plastic stabilizers protect the polymer during processing and ensure that plastic end products retain their physical properties during use, prolonging their life. Additives are essential for lubrication and prolonged use of oil in engines and gearboxes. Antioxidants retard oxidation by reacting with the radicals produced in the engine oil and extend drain intervals.
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Plastics are the most common materials for producing end-use parts and products, for everything from consumer products to medical devices. Plastics are a versatile category of materials, with thousands of polymer options, each with their own specific mechanical properties. But how are plastic parts made? For any designer and engineer working in product development, it is critical to be familiar with the manufacturing options available today and the new developments that signal how parts will be made tomorrow. This guide provides an overview of the most common manufacturing processes for producing plastic parts and guidelines to help you select the best option for your application. Some manufacturing processes have high front costs for tooling and setup, but produce parts that are inexpensive on a per-part basis. In contrast, low volume manufacturing processes have low startup costs, but due to slower cycle times, less automation, and manual labor, cost per part remains constant or decreases only marginally when volume increases. Some processes create first parts within 24 hours, while tooling and setup for certain high volume production processes takes months.
The plastics industry manufactures polymer materials — commonly called plastics — and offers services in plastics important to a range of industries, including packaging , building and construction , electronics , aerospace , and transportation. It is part of the chemical industry. In addition, as mineral oil is the major constituent of plastics, it is regarded [ by whom? Besides plastics production, plastics engineering is an important part of the industrial sector.
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Guide to Manufacturing Processes for Plastics
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