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The History of Plastic Products

What are plastics and where do they come from?

Plastic is a word that originally meant ‘easily shaped and pliable.’ Recently, it became a name for a group of materials called polymers.

Over the last century and a half, we have learned how to make synthetic polymers, sometimes using natural substances like cellulose, but more often using the plentiful carbon atoms provided by petroleum and fossil fuels.

Polymers have become an essential part of the manufacturing industry to make plastic products.


The first synthetic plastic 

In 1869, the first synthetic polymer was invented by John Wesley Hyatt, by treating cellulose, derived from cotton fibre, with camphor, Hyatt discovered a plastic that could be crafted into a variety of shapes and made to imitate natural substances such as ivory and linen.

This discovery was marked in history, as this was the first-time human manufacturing was not constrained by nature. Humans could now create new materials for their plastic products.


The development of new plastics

Leo Baekeland invented Bakelite in 1907. Bakelite is the first fully synthetic plastic, as it contained no molecules found in nature. Bakelite could be shaped or moulded into almost anything providing endless possibilities for plastic products.


The Future of Plastics

Plastic is now critical for modern life, to create plastic products such as computers, phones, and lifesaving medical devices. It is clear we cannot live without certain plastic products. Innovators are working to develop bioplastics which are much more environmentally friendly than conventional plastics. Some scientists are working on creating plastic products that are completely biodegradable and some are working on ways to make recycling much more efficient.


Here at CJ Tool and Mouldings, we are a plastic injection moulding company in the West Midlands, we offer a full range of services including design, tooling, moulding and assembly.

Added: 26 Sep 2017 11:10

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