Inquiring Minds LogoFeature ButtonArchive ButtonAbout Us ButtonSend Question ButtonContents ButtonContact Us Button  
Topic: Why are so many things made of Plastic?
Plastic Home > Plastic's Secret Revealed

Plastic's Secret Revealed!

Illustration: MonomerThe basic building block of plastic is a molecule called a “monomer” (meaning “one”). Plastics are made by linking “monomers” together into “polymers”
(“many” monomers).

The process of linking monomers into polymers is called “polymerization.” Check out the Animations section to see how plastic molecules join together.

Picture: This is a monomer of a substance called ethylene. Click on the image to see a 3D version.
Requires Flash 5.
 

Think of it This Way
Photo: Paperclip chain
You can think of a plastic molecule as a chain of paperclips. Each individual paperclip
represents a monomer. The paperclips are linked to form a chain, which is the polymer.

Video:
Plastic Videos
 

Check out this issue's lineup of video clips.

 

 
  Animations:
Plastic Animation
 
 

Explore the innerworkings of plastic molecules.

 

 
  Quiz:
Plastic Quiz
 
 

Test your plastics IQ with this quiz. Requires Flash 5.

 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

Home | Feature | Archive | About Us | Send Question | Contents | Contact Us

Revised September 16, 2001

 

 

 

Archive About Us Send Question Contents Contact Us