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Research shows black plastics could create renewable energy

Research from Swansea University has found how plastics commonly found in food packaging can be recycled to create new materials like wires for electricity—and could help to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the future.

Coral found to prefer eating microplastic to natural food

A team of researchers from Boston University, Roger Williams University, the New England Aquarium, Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School and UMass Boston, reports that one type of coral prefers to eat microplastics ...

The similarities between a Van Gogh painting and a golf ball

On a molecular scale, there are surprising similarities between the outer shell of a golf ball and the white oil paint used by Van Gogh and his contemporaries. In both cases, the interactions between zinc ions and polymer ...

Virus genes help determine if pea aphids get their wings

Many of an organism's traits are influenced by cues from the organism's environment. These features are known as phenotypically plastic traits and are important in allowing an organism to cope with unpredictable environments.

Pulsed electron beams shed light on plastics production

Plastics are all around us—they make up our water bottles, trash bags, packing materials, toys, containers, and more. About 300 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide each year, yet the details of what goes on at ...

New study finds microplastic throughout Monterey Bay

Many people have heard of the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch," a vast area of ocean between California and Hawaii where ocean currents concentrate plastic pollution. However, it turns out there may also be a lot of plastic ...

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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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