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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.

Plastic Videos

Check out this issue's lineup of video clips.


Plastic Animation

Explore the innerworkings of plastic molecules.


Plastic Quiz

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







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Revised September 16, 2001




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