And how has it changed the world

A BRIEF HISTORY OF  PLAS PLASTICS 1862 World's first man-made plastic   Alexander Parkes introduced the world's first-ever man-made plastic

1862 World’s first man-made plastic 

Alexander Parkes introduced the world’s first-ever man-made plastic at the London International Exhibition. Termed as “Parkesine”, it was marketed as an alternative to ivory and horn. It wasn’t a commercial success but represented an important first step in the development of man-made plastic.

1870 When Celluloid was invented

Parkesine didn’t start to truly show its potential value until John Wesley Hyatt in New York discovered a way to manufacture its improved version. He added camphor, improving the plastic’s malleability, and renamed it celluloid.

1907 World’s first entirely synthetic plastic created

While Parkesine was created from organic compounds, Leo Baekeland created the world’s first entirely synthetic plastic called Bakelite. This marked the start of the modern plastics industry

1920 Discovery of Polymers

Hermann Staudinger proved the existence of what we know today as polymers. Plastics are a subset of polymers, a broad term that can be used to describe any plastic as well as several other naturally occurring organic compounds. Even our own DNA are polymers

WWI fuels creation of new types of plastics

A staggering number of plastic and chemical innovations emerged in the period surrounding World War II

Nylon, invented by Wallace Carothers in 1935 as a synthetic silk, was used during the war for parachutes, ropes, and body armor

Polyethylene, invented in 1933, became one of the most versatile plastics. It is used today to make grocery bags, shampoo bottles, and more

Plexiglas provided an alternative to glass for aircraft windows

Expanded polystyrene was created accidentally in 1941 and the sturdy lightweight plastic became a useful thermal insulator and shock-absorber

A growing market for plastics

After the war, plastics manufacturers turned to making consumer products. Plastics began to replace other materials like wood and wool in furniture, clothing, shoes, etc

Polyester was introduced in the 1950s, and polypropylene, today one of the most used polymers in the world, started being used as a commodity.

THE 1960s

The polysulfone family of thermoplastics, introduced in 1965, were used on Apollo-era space suits.

Synthetic fibre Kevlar, which was also introduced in 1965, was first used in the racing industry to replace steel in tyres. It has since found many other modern uses, most notably in bulletproof vests

THE 1970s and beyond

In the 1970s, there was a growing concern over the mass use of plastic and its impact on the environment. Consumers and companies were urged to refocus on biobased and biodegradable plastics.

The bioplastics of the late 1980s and early 1990s were a response to these concerns, but the products failed to meet consumer expectations

PLASTICS in the 21st century

Today, it is hard to imagine a world without plastics as they find a use in sectors ranging from healthcare, automotive, packaging,aerospace, construction and everything in between.

In 1950, 2.3 mn tons of plastic was manufactured. This figure increased to 448 mn tons by 2015.

Despite growing awareness of the harms it causes to the environment, as per data, 91% of the non-biodegradable substance isn’t recycled.

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