Plastics
Key words
Polymers
Monomers
Biodegradable
Properties of Plastics
• Flexible – you can squeeze the shampoo out of the
bottle
• Watertight – the shampoo will not leak...
What happens when we heat up
plastic?
• Two groups of plastics:
• Thermoplastic – materials soften on
heating so can be mo...
Problems with Plastics
• Non-biodegradable – do not decay when
thrown away
• Large amounts of plastic thrown away
which en...
Solutions
• Re-use plastics – e.g. plastic bags
• Recycle at recycling points and at home
• Use biodegradable plastics – d...
Burning Plastics
• Most of the
poisonous fumes
which burning
plastics produce
are made when
elements in the
plastics join ...
Natural vs. Synthetic
Advantages

Disadvantages

Natural Materials e.g. wool, wood, paper
Biodegradable

Can be expensive
...
Polymers
• Plastics are very large molecules called
polymers – ‘poly’ – many; ‘mer’- a part

This molecule is called polyt...
Making Plastics
• The plastic polythene is made by joining
molecules of ethene.
• The small ethene molecules that join tog...
Making Poly(ethene)

Many ethene molecules

This process is known as polymerisation
Polymerisation
• Polymers are formed when small molecules
known as monomers join together
• All the monomers in this kind ...
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Plastics polymerisation

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  • So we talked about the properties of plastics. Since they are so varied this is why they have replace many more expensive materials such as metals.
  • Plastics can be split into two different groups –
    Thermoplastic – this group of plastics will melt on heating. This is a very useful property and means that these plastics can be made as granules and then heated and moulded into new shapes for whatever they are making.
    Thermosetting – This group of plastics do not soften on heating so therefore cannot be reshaped. They are usually tough materials with high melting points. E.g. Urea – methanal the plastic used in electrical plugs, pot handles and in kettles.
    I remember it as thermosetting think “set” so its set in shape and cant be remoulded.
  • A discarded plastic bottled (irn bru bottle) will remain in the environment for years as the plastics are very durable therefore plastics are said to be non-biodegradeable – that is cannot be (bio – living, degradeable – able to e broken down) broken down by the bacteria in the soil as other materials are.
    We use tones of plastic for packaging – think about a trip to the supermarket and how much packaging there is on everything.
  • Not all plastics are recylable – look for the triangle that says its recycleable and encourage people to in their homes with the blue bins.
  • So all plastics contain carbon and hydrogen so all plastics when burned will combine with oxygen through incomplete combustion to form carbon monoxide.
    This is a very poisonous gas that has no smell or colour and stops red blood cells carrying oxygen around the body.
    So when there are fires in peoples homes it is the fumes from the plastics in the home burning (e.g. your couch) that creates a cloud of poisonous gases. This is why firemen wear breathing apparatus
    Polyurethane plastics contain nitrogen and therefore when the burn te nitrogen can combine with the carbon and hydrogen in the plastic to form hydrogen cyanide (HCN)
    Polychloroethene – used in outdoor clothing, vinyl wallpaper – on burning this plastic gives off a choking acidic gas known as hydrogen chloride (HCl)
  • Get everyone in the room to stand around the outside of the room with their arms crossed across their chests. Get them to stretch their arms out and then to join hands so that we have broken the double bond in the ethene molecules (each pupil) and then formed a polymer (polyethene)
    Alternatively
    Give everyone a paper clip and ask them to join up with everyone else from the front row back so that they join up in the middle.
  • Polyethene is the most widely used plastic. The monomer belongs to the homologous series called the alkenes. Many alkenes are used to make polymers e.g. propene which can be polymerised to make poly(propene) which is used for car bumpers, carpets, car bumpers and even biscuit wrappers.
    All the monomers used in this kind of polymerisation must contain a C=C bond.
    These alkenes come from Crude oil – long chain alkanes are catalytically cracked to yield short chain alkanes and alkenes that are used as the monomers.
    Naming –
    Chlorethene becomes poly(chloroethene)
  • Plastics polymerisation

    1. 1. Plastics
    2. 2. Key words Polymers Monomers Biodegradable
    3. 3. Properties of Plastics • Flexible – you can squeeze the shampoo out of the bottle • Watertight – the shampoo will not leak • Shatterproof – the bottle won’t break if dropped. • Light – easy and cheap to transport • Easily moulded – can make plastic into complicated shapes • Heat insulators – plastic vending machine cups. • Durable, non biodegradable • Electrical insulators – plugs and sockets are made of plastic
    4. 4. What happens when we heat up plastic? • Two groups of plastics: • Thermoplastic – materials soften on heating so can be moulded into new shapes • Thermosetting – plastics that do not soften when heated, so cannot be remoulded.
    5. 5. Problems with Plastics • Non-biodegradable – do not decay when thrown away • Large amounts of plastic thrown away which ends up in landfill sites • Some local authorities burn plastics to dispose of them – needs to be controlled to prevent dangerous fumes from being produced
    6. 6. Solutions • Re-use plastics – e.g. plastic bags • Recycle at recycling points and at home • Use biodegradable plastics – decay when they come into contact with the soil • Use less plastic - manufacturers could use less for packaging
    7. 7. Burning Plastics • Most of the poisonous fumes which burning plastics produce are made when elements in the plastics join with oxygen in the air to form new compounds. Plastic Toxic Gas Produced All plastics Carbon Monoxide Polyurethane plastics Hydrogen cyanide Poly Hydrogen (chloroethene) chloride
    8. 8. Natural vs. Synthetic Advantages Disadvantages Natural Materials e.g. wool, wood, paper Biodegradable Can be expensive Made from renewable resources e.g. trees Don’t last very long Synthetic Materials e.g. plastics Are long-lasting Non-biodegradable Mass produced cheaply Made from oil – finite resource Useful properties – light, flexible Toxic fumes when burned
    9. 9. Polymers • Plastics are very large molecules called polymers – ‘poly’ – many; ‘mer’- a part This molecule is called polythene
    10. 10. Making Plastics • The plastic polythene is made by joining molecules of ethene. • The small ethene molecules that join together to form the polymer are known as monomers • Its correct name is poly(ethene) – to name a polymer/plastic ‘poly’ then the (monomer unit) in brackets • Poly(ethene) is the most widely used plastic
    11. 11. Making Poly(ethene) Many ethene molecules This process is known as polymerisation
    12. 12. Polymerisation • Polymers are formed when small molecules known as monomers join together • All the monomers in this kind of polymerisation must contain C = C • Each small monomer becomes a part of the polymer
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