Light and strong


Plastic literally means "mouldable". The first plastic ever to be made was "Pakiscine". It was invented by Sir Alexander Pakis in 1862. But the person to start its production was an American, John W. Hyatt, who made a plastic material called "Celluloid" in 1868, by dissolving nitrocellulose under pressure.

Plastics are made up of molecules or particles which are called polymers. The raw material used was mainly petroleum. Plastic nowadays is being manufactured by man-made materials which are better and cheaper to produce.

The use of plastics started at the time of World War I, because of a shortage of natural material. Since World War II, the use of plastics has increased.

Plastics are light in weight, but strong in consistency. Plastics do not conduct heat, and this makes it a suitable covering for electric cables. When mixed with fibre glass, plastics can become strong enough to be used as the body of a car. Many fabrics are made from plastics also.

Although plastic is an important material, it is also a great environmental hazard. Plastics can be recycled . But the chemicals used in recycling, give it an everlasting property, and this makes it non-biodegradable. When plastics are burnt, they give off toxic fumes which accelerate the destruction of the ozone layer. To save the earth scientists are trying to invent plastics which disintegrate and do not give off toxic fumes on burning.