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Ecologists sound alarm on plastic pollution

Ecologists studying the prevalence of plastic pollution in aquatic ecosystems around the world are concerned after measuring the scale of human response needed to reduce future emissions and manage what's already floating ...

Researchers ask, how sustainable is your toothbrush?

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin have examined the sustainability of different models of the most commonly used oral health product—the toothbrush—to ascertain which is best for the planet and associated human health.

Researchers fabricate high-quality transparent ceramic

Mid-infrared lasers have been widely used in imaging, detection, diagnostics, environmental monitoring, medicine, industry, defense and others. For mid-infrared laser systems, low phonon energy gain materials are key factors.

A green catalyst for pharmaceutical and industrial chemistry

Many production facilities (e.g. plastic manufacturers, pharma companies, and others) use nanocatalysts that contain palladium—an expensive component that is not sustainably produced. A chemist from RUDN University found ...

Oil industry placing risky bet on plastics: report

Big oil producers are pinning their future growth on the world's insatiable appetite for plastic, researchers said Friday, in a "bet" on society's failure to tackle disposable consumption that risks stranding billions of ...

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Plastic

Plastic is the general common term for a wide range of synthetic or semisynthetic organic amorphous solid materials suitable for the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular weight, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce costs.

The word derives from the Greek πλαστικός (plastikos) meaning fit for molding, and πλαστός (plastos) meaning molded. It refers to their malleability, or plasticity during manufacture, that allows them to be cast, pressed, or extruded into an enormous variety of shapes—such as films, fibers, plates, tubes, bottles, boxes, and much more.

The common word plastic should not be confused with the technical adjective plastic, which is applied to any material which undergoes a permanent change of shape (plastic deformation) when strained beyond a certain point. Aluminum, for instance, is plastic in this sense, but not a plastic in the common sense; while some plastics, in their finished forms, will break before deforming and therefore are not plastic in the technical sense.

There are two types of plastics: thermoplastics and thermosets. Thermoplastics, if exposed to enough heat, will melt. Thermosets will keep their shape until they are charred and burnt. Some examples of thermoplastics are grocery bags, piano keys and some automobile parts. Examples of thermosets are children's dinner sets and circuit boards.

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