So why is plastic useful? Thermoplastics, in particular, are lightweight, easy to process, cost-effective, plentiful, resilient, durable, resistant to corrosion and moisture, low maintenance, hygienic, and recyclable. It is because of these benefits that their importance has increased since they were first developed over a hundred years ago. Plastics are replacing the more traditional materials like wood, metal, concrete, rubber, and ceramics as a cost-effective, durable alternative.
Plastic is used for many different products – construction, automotive, aeronautical, rail, medical, safety, military, marine, printing, refrigeration, packaging, electrical and electronics, textile, sports and leisure, and many others. It can be and easily moulded into complex shapes and massed produced to fine tolerances, which makes it easier for engineers to design objects made of plastic rather than in metals or ceramics, for example.
One of the reasons why plastic can be used almost everywhere is that it is not just one material, but a group of materials which contains many sub-categories. There are many different types of plastics polymers, and a lot of them, like Polyethylene, Polypropylene, PVC, ABS, Acrylic, etc., have extremely useful and versatile properties which fit in well with our modern-day lifestyles.