You probably do not realize the impact that the invention of plastic has had in your life. In just 60 short years, plastics’ popularity has grown considerably. This is largely due to just a few reasons. They can be easily molded into a wide range of products, and they offer benefits that other materials do not.
You may think that plastic is just plastic, but there are actually about 45 different families of plastics. In addition, each of these families can be made with hundreds of different variations. By changing different molecular factors of the plastic, they can be made with different properties, including flexibility, transparency, durability, and more.
There are two main types of plastics, thermoset plastics and thermoplastics. Breaking these down further, you can see the everyday uses of each type. With thermoset plastics, the plastic will hold its shape long term once it has cooled to room temperature and hardened thoroughly.
Most modern plastics are based on organic chemicals which offer a huge range of physical properties to manufacturers — the range of formulations is vast and still growing. There was a time when anything made of plastic was considered to be of inferior quality, but those days are past. You are probably wearing plastic right now — maybe a polyester/cotton mix garment or even spectacles or a watch with plastic components.
There is a huge percentage of plastic in your television, your sound system, your cell phone, your vacuum cleaner — and probably plastic foam in your furniture too. What are you walking on? Your floor covering if it is not real wood probably has a synthetic/natural fiber blend (just like some of the clothes you wear).