Segments in this Video

Plastics Overview (01:36)


Plastic products are in mos homes, allowing the plastics industry to overtake the steel industry. Plastic is used to make everything from toys and computer keyboards to fabric in the clothing we wear.

Plastic History (02:53)

A series of inventions in the 19th and early 20th centuries lead to the plastics we use today: Charles Goodyear’s vulcanization of rubber; Alexander Parkes’ invention of Parkesine; John Wesley Hyatt’s synthesis of celluloid; and Leo Baekland’s development of Bakelite.

What Are Plastics? (02:02)

Plastics are composed of macromolecules called polymers. Most plastics are synthesized from oil, and their versatility has allowed them to partly replace the use of wood, cotton, wool and other materials. There are three main groups of plastics: thermoplastics, thermostable plastics and elastomers.

Thermoplastics (02:31)

The shape of thermoplastics can change continuously by heat. Among the most commonly used thermoplastics are polyethylene, polystyrene, polypropylene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Thermostable Plastics (01:48)

These plastics never lose their shape once they are molded, making them ideal for frying pan handles, electric insulators and other items. Variants include Bakelite, melamine, polyurethane, polyester and epoxy resins.

Elastomers (01:50)

The main characteristics of elastomers are the ease with which they can be stretched and their ability to recover their shape. The most common examples are rubber or latex.

Drawbacks of Plastics (01:59)

One of plastic’s main advantages, a high resistance to corrosion and wear, is also one of its main drawbacks. A plastic object can take decades or centuries to decompose. That, coupled with plastic’s widespread use, makes it ecologically dangerous. We have begun to produce biodegradable plastics.

Plastics Summary (03:42)

This segment reviews the concepts of plastics discussed in this video.

Credits: Plastics (02:29)

Credits: Plastics

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Part of the Series : Just the Facts Chemistry Connections Series
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



This is the story of plastics—the result of human genius that has changed the face of our world for both good and bad. Plastics have replaced traditional materials and have made their way into homes all across this planet. This program will explore the development and use of plastics in our technological world. Learn about the history of plastics, the first polymers (wool, rubber, silk, and cellulose), Charles Goodyear and the vulcanizing of rubber, Alexander Parkes and parkesine, John Wesley Hyatt and synthesized celluloid, Leo Baekeland and synthetic plastic, thermoplastics, thermostable plastics, elastomers, and the uses, drawbacks, characteristics, and future of plastics.

Length: 23 minutes

Item#: BVL155060

Copyright date: ©2013

Closed Captioned

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