When it comes to polymers, it is important to distinguish different types of polymers depending on their intended functions and use. There are so many types of polymers that it is easy to drown from their various forms and uses. But one of the most popular types of polymers is structural polymer. It is called such because of its mechanical behavior that is a huge part of its function.
As compared to some of its near cousins, the classical structural materials like metals, the structural polymers represent the type of materials that hugely broaden the use of this term. For example, structural polymers such as plastics and rubber contributed to almost 71 billion pounds in 1992. And in the last two decades, the production tripled already. And that number is only considering the production done in the US. What more globally?
The following are some of the examples of polymers and how we are using them in our daily lives, making them an essential part of human societies.
Plastics are commonly called polymer but in reality, a polymer is only classified as such when we are discussing its molecular size. When we say plastics, we want to talk about its ability to be deformed and reformed under various conditions. Plastics are huge part of our existence as it’s difficult to look anywhere and not to find a plastic. Every thing we use in our daily lives have plastic components. The main difference of plastics with other polymers is, when the force that deformed it was removed, it will retain the shape it’s currently in. There are other types of plastics such as thermoplastics that pertains to their thermal behavior during processing.
Thermoplastics are polymers that slowly soften when heated and flow steadily. But during the cooling process it becomes hard again. The main importance of this process is, it can be applied almost indefinitely but still maintaining its usability. This allows recycling of certain plastic materials to happen. Therefore, it is important to not dispose of these products as they can be reheated again and transformed into another functional plastic material that we can use in our daily lives.