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Waste plastic converted into filtration membranes

In a world that seems to be drowning in plastic bottles, recycling this waste into useful materials would help to reduce its environmental impact. KAUST researchers have now invented a way to turn plastic bottles into porous ...

Cell stiffness may indicate whether tumors will invade

Engineers at MIT and elsewhere have tracked the evolution of individual cells within an initially benign tumor, showing how the physical properties of those cells drive the tumor to become invasive, or metastatic.

New study could revolutionize the way we recycle

Researchers from the University of Surrey together with colleagues from Germany, Spain and France are set to start work on a novel technique to tackle plastic waste, potentially revolutionizing the way we recycle. Engineered ...

Chasing nanoplastics

How dangerous are micro- and nanoplastics? Do they affect the environment? What harm can they do to our bodies? Questions that we can now finally answer because of Fazel Abdolahpur Monikh. Together with his colleagues, he ...

What does the future of plastic look like?

Plastic waste is a growing problem around the world, despite efforts to recycle or reduce plastic use. In order to really transform the recycling process, more attention needs to be paid to the composition of plastic, according ...

Sunlight degrades polystyrene faster than expected

A study published by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) shows that polystyrene, one of the world's most ubiquitous plastics, may degrade in decades or centuries when exposed to sunlight, rather than ...

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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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