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Plastic is fantastic mrm-2016

This presentation is concerned with Plastic Fantastic and describes some of the fantastic scientific and technological aspects of in particular polyethylene. It also describes how many technological innovations have "good, bad and ugly" dimensions and how plastic packaging currently gives plastics in general a bad name.

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Plastic is fantastic mrm-2016

  1. 1. “Plastic is Fantastic” however; as with many things there are good, bad and ugly dimensions to most technological innovation The Good The Bad & the Ugly By Malcolm Mackley, Emeritus Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology 1
  2. 2. Nuclear is fantasticThe Good The Bad & the Ugly 2
  3. 3. Terrorists use mobiles as propaganda tools “Bombs activated by cell phones prompts Pakistan to shut down cell phone network” Mobile Phones are Fantastic The Good The Bad & the Ugly 3
  4. 4. Plastics are Fantastic;The Good & the Ugly 4 However, currently Plastics are receiving a bad press mostly for environmental reasons. Clean beaches Dirty beaches Very dirty beaches The bad
  5. 5. “Plastics Are Fantastic” 5 Mandy Rice Davies and Christine Keeler 1970s As a polymer scientist you might expect me to say that “Plastics are Fantastic”, However it happens to be true. While giving evidence at the trial of Stephen Ward, charged with living off the immoral earnings of Keeler and Rice-Davies, the latter made a famous reply when the defence counsel, pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her, she replied; "Well he would say that, wouldn't he.”
  6. 6. Plastics are part of the polymer family of molecules and polyethylene (PE) is the world largest commodity thermoplastic Water; usually a liquid Ethylene; usually a gas Polyethylene; usually a solid 6
  7. 7. Polymers are fantastic DNA, the stuff of life Polyethylene, a “man made” 1934 discovery 7 Cellulose, one of natures building blocks
  8. 8. Polyethylene has a fantastically diverse molecular structure. Graphic courtesy of Alexi Likhtman, University of Reading Perfect Chaos Perfect Order Random Coil Perfect Crystal 8
  9. 9. 9 Macro. mm-m Micro. µm Nano. nm Molecular. Angstrom Semi crystalline solid RubberyDiamond like Perfect order Total chaos Tough and Strong Polyethylene (PE) can be …… PE has an incredibly diverse microstructure and associated diverse range of end user properties
  10. 10. 10 Fantastic Polyethylene Crystal Microstructures PE “single crystals” PE “Shish kebabs” PE “Spherulites”
  11. 11. 11 Polyethylene (PE) manufacture. = 2 million, 40 tonnes PE filled trucks /annum Globally, 2015 > 80 million tonnes/annum =Fill Salcombe Estuary with PE = 0.3mm PE sheet over British Isles
  12. 12. 12 PE injection moulding (China 1996) The Thermoplastic moulding process is low temperature, low cost, very efficient and environmentally benign.
  13. 13. 13 PE Extrusions The Thermoplastic extrusion process is low temperature, low cost, very efficient and environmentally benign
  14. 14. 14 PE Films and Packaging Plastic packaging gives plastics a bad name, mostly because Some People, Councils and Governments do not dispose and Recycle their used plastic properly
  15. 15. 15 Synthetic polymers are everywhere Shape forming with plastics is low cost, efficient and effective. The diversity of products is immense. Recycling and disposal are current issues that need attention.
  16. 16. 16 The future is plastic PE membranes PE Lithium ion battery membranes PE bone joints PE Dyneema High Modulus Fibres Dyneema body armour High Modulus ropes
  17. 17. 17 Collecting plastic waste on the Thames Plastic waste Product made from recycled plastic Energy recovery by burning plastics Biodegradable plastic Recycle, Reuse, Burn or biodegrade
  18. 18. 18 Plastics Are Fantastic. However; as with many things. There can be, Good, Bad and Ugly sides to the story.