Plastic is one of the most used materials in the manufacturing of toys, tools, and other consumer goods. It's very name, 'Plastic', from the Greek 'plastos' refers to 'molded'. It is clear that the material plastic's real value lies in the ways in which it is used and molded. Plastic is extremely malleable, and allows or it to be pressed, extruded, cast, or molded into many different shapes and forms.
Plastics are used in a wide range of products, from every day office products such as pens, clips, and printers, to high-end uses such as TV's, stadiums, and space shuttles. Before plastic's wide adoption across many different industries, other materials such as wood, stone, glass, ceramic, and leather were the standard products used. Now, to find products made of leather and stone indicates a certain quality and 'rareness' because most of our 'stuff' is plastic. Plastic has displaces all of these traditional materials and is now the dominant material in all of manufacturing.
The drawbacks to using plastic stem from its chemical makeup. The compounds comprising plastic limit its ability to withstand heat and makes it vulnerable to hard impacts and weight. Plastics are limited in how dense and hard they can be made to be which causes many of these weaknesses. Additionally, plastics are not highly conductive of electricity, and so they are limited in use around electronic components. Additionally, the price of plastic molding and work limits its use as a building material (aside from PVC) in construction projects because it is still to expensive when compared to working with concrete and lumber.
Polyvinyl Choloride is an extremely useful plastic. Commonly referred to as PVC, it is used heavily in plumbing but also has many practical uses such as framing out large shapes and many other uses where tubing is involved. It other forms, PVC can be used in rain gear, packaging of food, shrink wrap, home siding, computer enclosures, and many other places in which most people don't expect.
Plastic has truly revolutionized how the world operates. We now can have many tools and utensils because they can be developed and manufactured very cheaply with plastic. If plastic were not around, many of our standard household items would have to be made out of more expensive materials, thus limiting the ability for most people to obtain them. Plastic is cheap, extremely malleable, and very stable, and thus has many different uses which people all over the world have researched and continue to research to push the possibilities of plastic.
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