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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyThu 17 Oct 2019, 15:31

Not history yet but plastics had a beginning. There will a scream for definitions. Scream on because if I had any you would have them If you want to give definitions keep it simple. In truth I am also uncertain about where the chemicals come from; my assumption has been from oil..... but better informed members will enlighten - no links please, I am on a strict diet in several senses.
I know of Bakelite - very collectable according to antique buffs. Perhaps I ought start saving plastic bags.

And we might discuss whether plastic has been a boon. whether or not we can manage without etc.
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Green George
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 18 Oct 2019, 00:41

Arguably ebonite (hardened rubber) which is half a century older than bakelite has a claim to be regarded as at least one of the earliest plastics.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 18 Oct 2019, 07:51

I suspect the Mesoamerican civillisations - the Olmecs (the name means 'rubber people'), the Aztecs and the Maya - had developed chemical hardening of natural rubber many centuries before Charles Goodyear did with his ebonite and other 'vulcanised' rubber products. It is known (from both contemporary Spanish reports and modern archaeology) that they could fine-tune the curing of natural latex to give a variety of properties depending on the intended use. For glues they used almost pure rubber-tree latex; to make stretchy, bouncy rubber for the balls used in the ceremonial ball games, they cooked the rubber latex with sap of the morning glory vine (a natural elastomer); to waterproof cloth they probably first dissolved the rubber latex in turpentine extracted from pine trees and then let the volatile components evaporate (in the much the same way that in the 1820s Charles Macintosh did, although he used naptha, a cheap liquid by-product of coal-gas production); and for hardening rubber to make various decorative and functional articles, but especially the flexible and hard-wearing soles of sandals (with properties similar to Goodyear's rubber vehicle tyres) they almost certainly used sulphur, as nothing else does the job so well. Unfortunately no archaeological remains of Mesoamerican rubber-soled footwear have ever been discovered but they were clearly described by the earliest Spanish chroniclers (16th century) and sulphur was readily obtainable from Central American volcanoes; by smoking the rubber over heated iron pyrite (FeS2), a common enough mineral which gives off sulphur dioxide when heated; or perhaps by blending the raw latex with the ash of sulphur-rich plants, such as certain seaweeds.


Last edited by Meles meles on Wed 06 Nov 2019, 11:41; edited 5 times in total (Reason for editing : annoying typos)
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 18 Oct 2019, 14:16

Another early synthetic plastic was nitrocellulose or cellulose nitrate, which was specifically invented as a material for making billiard balls. Billiard balls had been made of a variety of materials including wood, bone, ceramic and metal. However the best were of ivory, which could not only be formed into perfect, homogeneous spheres which rolled perfectly straight, but was also hard enough to resist denting as well as being sufficiently tough to resist cracking and chipping. However by the mid-19th century elephants were being slaughtered for their ivory at an alarming rate, not just for billard balls but also for piano keys, cutlery handles, buttons, combs and numerous other carved decorative items. The billiard industry realized that the supply of elephants was endangered, and that the acquisition of ivory was a dangerous and difficult business, and so inventors were challenged to come up with an alternative material that could be manufactured, with a US$10,000 prize being offered by the New York sports equipment company, Phelan and Collender.

In response to this challenge John Wesley Hyatt invented nitrocellulose as an ivory substitute suitable for making billiard balls and in 1869 patented this in America (US patent 50359) although it is uncertain if he was ever awarded the Phelan and Collender cash prize. Nevertheless by 1870 Hyatt's new material, now commercially branded 'celluloid', was being used to make billiard balls. However nitrocellulose (basically the same material as the explosive, gun-cotton) is rather unstable, highly inflammable and accordingly hazardous to manufacture (also, supposedly billiard balls would sometimes detonate when they struck against each other during a game). This instability made celluloid impractical for many items and for billiard balls it was soon replaced by other synthetic plastics such as Bakelite. Celluloid however continued to be used for photographic and cinematic film until the 1950s when it was finally replaced by acetate safety film. But celluloid is still sometimes used to make small moulded items such as table tennis balls, guitar plectrums (it is very stiff and inelastic yet light in weight - the same reasons it lasted so long in use as photographic/cinematic film), as well as other small items such as cheap novelties and toys.


Last edited by Meles meles on Sun 20 Oct 2019, 12:58; edited 7 times in total (Reason for editing : commas and phrasing, that's all)
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Nielsen
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 18 Oct 2019, 14:38

@Meles meles wrote:
...

In response to this challenge John Wesley Hyatt invented a nitrocellulose as an ivory substitute suitable for making billiard balls and in 1869 patented this in America, US patent 50359, (although it is uncertain if he ever was awarded Phelan and Collender's cash prize). .... However nitrocellulose (basically the same material as the explosive, gun cotton) is rather unstable, highly inflammable and hazardous to make. (Supposedly billiard balls would sometimes detonate when they struck against each other during a game). This instability made celluloid impractical for many items and for billiard balls it was soon replaced by other synthetic plastics such as Bakelite.

Celluloid however continued to be used for photgraphic and cinematic film until the 1950s when it was finally replaced by acetate safety film. But celluloid is still sometimes used to make small moulded items like table tennis balls and guitar plectrums.


MM, Re nitrocellulose the way you describe it, this might make matches extremely exiting. [I should have liked to make some lewd comments regarding your description of 'billiared balls' but shall leave such comments the other RH'ers fantasies].

Cellouid was used in my childhood - mid-1950's to mid- even late '60'es - on handlebars for bycicles, pieces of which would make an awful stink when set afire.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 18 Oct 2019, 19:54

Perhaps I'm being a bit thick but I really don't understand your comment about matches ... is it perhaps a language thing or am I missing something obvious?  silent
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Nielsen
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 18 Oct 2019, 20:32

I'm sorry for being dumb, MM, it's just that in Danish 'match' equal 'game' or in tennis 'set', my mistake - I'm sorry.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 18 Oct 2019, 22:22

Not so much about the history of when the first plastic was used, but about when it became ubiquitous, I remember as a child about 60 years ago, nothing came in plastic. Our bread was delivered by the postman and if we children were at home we would collect it and half of it, especially the innards, would be gone before it reached the house. It wasn't wrapped in anything, and I don't recall any illnesses of the sort that would come from contaminated food. (I am trying to think of any vomiting, and all I can remember is the time when I gorged myself on tamarillos (tree tomatoes they used to be called and might be more common in NZ than elsewhere) and was sick all over my father's bed. I still love tamarillos and just had one for my breakfast. 

Our groceries were ordered by phone and delivered to us. I remember big cheeses - is the rind on them plastic? or some natural process? Milk came in glass bottles which are coming back now. When they switched to plastic it was to "give the customer more choice". Huh! And most of our meat came from my poor father having to cut the throats of sheep (he was always a bit wimpish and would spend hours trying to find a lost lamb and detested his time overseas in war). 

But this has got off the subject of the beginnings of plastic, sorry.
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Green George
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 18 Oct 2019, 22:35

Commercial unsliced bread - as delivered in my youth - was frequently wrapped in waxed paper (and, in the form of beeswax wraps, that's another one making a comeback). The rind of a big cheese was, perhaps unsurprisingly, cheesecloth, again frequently waxed.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyWed 04 Dec 2019, 14:00

At school I was told that nylon was named after New York- LONdon, although as it was invented by the DuPont Company of Delaware, this transatlantic origin was never fully explained, other than that the product had been unveiled at the 1939 New York World's Fair. That 'fact' it seems is false and the naming of nylon is rather more interesting.

Chemically the material is a polyamide, made of two monomers each containing 6 carbon atoms, hexamethylenediamine and adipic acid, hence during development the new material was known simply as "fiber 6,6" or "fiber 66". But the DuPont management did not think this name had enough advertising appeal, so a naming committee was appointed to evaluate likely names: they received over 400 suggestions. Early ideas that were soon dropped and indeed may have just been jokes, were: "duparooh" and "duproh" (DuPont pulls (a) rabbit out (of) hat); and "dupron" (DuPont pulls rabbit out (of) nitrogen, or nature, or nozzle, or naptha, or ...). "Wacara" was suggested in honour of Wallace Carothers, the lead scientist in its development, as was "delawear", a play on "wear" and Delaware, the US state in which DuPont was based, but these had few advocates as well. "Neosheen", "duponese", "pontella" and "lustrol" were also rejected, as were "dusilk", "rayamide" and "silkex".

Ernest Knight Gladding, the head of the DuPont rayon department (rayon, a polymer based on natural materials, was already in production) then proposed "norun". That sounded good and suggested that the material did not unravel (no run), but this name had to be rejected because it was not strictly true. Without further ado, "norun" was changed to "nuron", because "nu" sounds like "new". But "nuron" was like neuron, and thus "sounded too like a nerve tonic", and so it was then changed to "nilon". But then would people pronounce "nilon" as "nill-on", "nee-lon" or "ny-lon"? And so Gladding replaced the "i" with a "y" – and the word "nylon" was coined: its sounded good but didn't actually mean anything, other than ending "on", and so it sounded similar to the existing fibres; cotton and rayon.

There were subsequent claims made about the significance of the name, such as that nylon came from New York and London because two chemists thought up the word on an intercontinental flight from one of the cities to the other, but DuPont's own records discount this. Another myth is that  DuPont chose the name, nylon, with the aim of provoking Japanese industry, which would be able to export less silk as a result of the new artificial fibre: this story says that nylon stands for "Now You’ve Lost, Old Nippon".


Last edited by Meles meles on Wed 04 Dec 2019, 20:43; edited 1 time in total
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Vizzer
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyWed 04 Dec 2019, 18:59

Good post Meles. The ‘New York/London’ hypothesis regarding the naming of nylon is well overdue debunking. It calls to mind another popular misconception which held that the name Tesco stood for ‘The English Supermarket Company’. I don’t think that Tesco did anything to dispel the myth, though, as it  no doubt suited their needs on a marketing level. By all accounts the 'TES' in Tesco comes from TE Stockwell and the 'CO' from founder Jack Cohen. Stockwell was an early business partner of Cohen’s and TE Stockwell is now a brand name of the supermarket used in much the same way as St Michael served as a brand name for Marks & Spencer.
 
Going back to nylon and myths. I was intrigued to hear the story of British women during the Second World War drawing lines down the back of their legs (to simulate the wearing of nylon stockings) being debunked in a film. Even more intriguing is that the film dated from 1942. It was propaganda short called London Scrapbook and in it American actress Bessie Love (living in Britain) is discussing making a film to be shown in America about life in wartime London. She and Basil Radford have to sell the idea to Leslie Mitchell of British Movietone News. When the issue of stockings (or rather the lack of them) comes up Mitchell says:

“I don’t think they bother to paint them on any more - if they ever did. Either that or it was purely a stunt wasn’t it?”

The film can be watched on the British Film Institute player:

London Scrapbook 1942

(The relevant section is about 04:10 in)

One wonders just how widespread the phenomenon of women painting on stockings really was and how much of it was indeed exaggerated.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyWed 04 Dec 2019, 21:29

Furthermore once nylon stockings were properly available did they even have a seam down the back? Certainly the very first experimental stockings made from DuPont's nylon were manufactured by Union Hosiery Company with a cotton seam and a silk welt and toe. But one of the prime features of nylon was its stetchiness and its ability to always spring back into shape without getting baggy. Moreover it was soon discovered that nylon distorted when exposed to heat and so stockings could be knitted as a simple, seamless tube, and then stretched over forms and steamed to get them moulded into a leg shape. Nylon stockings were launched in May 1940 but production only continued until the US entered the war in December 1941 when all nylon production was diverted to war requirements. Once nylon stockings again became available after 1945 - but in Britain they would still remain in very short supply for some years yet - there would be no practical need for them to be seamed. Drawing a line down the back of the legs would surely then have just shown that you were clearly not wearing the real deal ... but I'll admit I am no expert on the fashion aspect of nylon stockings.

This is 1954 but the stocking material being inspected here, prior to shaping, has no seam.

Plastics - The History. thereof etc Stocking
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyThu 05 Dec 2019, 10:13

MM, I never tried it myself but I have heard of girls drawing a line down the back of the leg with an eyeliner or something of that ilk in the 1960s.  Seamless stockings came into vogue around the time I changed from socks to stockings which is as well because the few times I tried to wear the seamed variety they went askew.  I imagine the other ladies who contribute to this board as being exceedingly well groomed with nary a seam out of place but I'm afraid the tatterdemalion came out in me comes and still does sometimes.  I was glad when tights came into fashion during the mid to late 1960s.

Before I looked at your knowledgeable posts I'd been thinking about Framilon - a sort of plastic elastic.  I've looked online and seen that it's actually a type of spandex but darn useful for bathing costumes and underwear etc.  I'd read somewhere that there is a type of elastic that can be boiled nowadays* but I hardly imagine that would be a spandex one so I'm still in the dark as far as that is concerned.

Eons ago when I posted about corsets and perhaps trying** to make one I looked at a site called Foundations Revealed which is mainly about making corsets.  It's mostly a paid for site but there are some free articles and there was one about drafting one's own seamed stockings.  As far as applies to me that would really only be worthwhile as a learning experience but for very skilled seamstresses it might be of interest.

* It was something about dyeing material.

** "Why the heck doesn't she buy a corset?" are you thinking collectively.  Well, they're expensive - I was thinking of support when doing the gardening or ironing or jobs which take a toll on my back.  My intermittent sewing is of the average variety not the expert.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyThu 05 Dec 2019, 18:25

I shudder at the thought of mentioning personal knowledge of stocking seams or worse, corsets, however many women painted their legs with an awful orange dye and drawing seams when stockings of any sort were not readily available but the thicker lisle were and worn  by the elderly.

Rayon is a fabric that seems to have been and gone along with dacron - would those be  sorts of plastic? I do    not know the definition to apply. In truth I know very, very few definitions in any discipline but try to  avoid mention if you would.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyThu 05 Dec 2019, 19:28

Rayon, also known as viscose, is not really a synthetic plastic as it's made from natural cellulose extracted from wood pulp. The wood cellulose is chemically extracted into a liquid form which is forced through a spinneret to produce filaments which are then chemically solidified, resulting in fibers of nearly pure cellulose. It's sometimes called artificial silk although it's chemically closer to cotton than true silk as made by silk worms. Nevertheless rayon does have a more natural feel that many other truely synthetic fibres, like nylon or dacron.

Dacron is certainly a synthetic plastic - polyethylene terephthalate - it's in the polyester family. As a fibre, dacron is a US brand name, in Britain it is usually called terylene, but the same plastic can be used for other more solid applications, such as buckets, toys, plastic food containers, drinks bottles, plastic plates and cutlery etc, where it usually called PET or PETE (abbreviated from polyethylene terephthalate).


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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyThu 05 Dec 2019, 22:10

MM, one learns here everyday. With my bit of chemistry, even the speciality of plastic technique (injection moulding and all that), I see here nevertheless something new as about "rayon".

I heard for the first time about "rayonne" (as we called it, just after WWII) when my father had bought a whole (I have not a name for it, as it was not on a roller as nowadays but like this)
Plastics - The History. thereof etc Img_7120

And it was in "rayonne" in a blue colour and his brother-in-law, a taylor and my uncle, said that it was fake and that it would shrink and couldn't be ironed. And indeed as he had to make a "golf trousers?" for me, it was just as my uncle said. If you ironed you couldn't put heat on it and after some wash times it was schrinking.
As it was fashion in our time for boys, I tried to find a picture, but only this one type was available
Plastics - The History. thereof etc Vardon-630x473

But our fashion in Belgium was much longer and as I remember it was closed some 20 cm (about 7 inches above the ground with, as I suppose also on the photo, a band in the same textile and closed with a button.

But as I read the nowadays comments on "rayon", I guess my father had bought the textile at a not too bona fide merchant...

Kind regards, Paul.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyThu 05 Dec 2019, 22:26

@PaulRyckier wrote:
But our fashion in Belgium was much longer and as I remember it was closed some 20 cm (about 7 inches above the ground ...
 
You mean more like this typically Belgian chap? Wink

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyThu 05 Dec 2019, 22:47

@Meles meles wrote:
@PaulRyckier wrote:
But our fashion in Belgium was much longer and as I remember it was closed some 20 cm (about 7 inches above the ground ...
 
You mean more like this typically Belgian chap? Wink
 
Of course, MM, 

how could I forget that Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed

Perhaps had I searched more in Dutch or French...

Kind regards from Paul.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 06 Dec 2019, 09:17

I think tercel is made from eucalyptus somehow so I suppose not plastic.

Is (or was - don't seem to see it so much these days) shellac a type of plastic?
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 06 Dec 2019, 11:20

Shellac is a secretion from a type of bug, which is scaped off trees and dissolved in alcohol to make a liquid product that can be painted on wood as a varnish-like finish. It can also be formed into solid sheets, although these are rather brittle, and it was used like that to make old 78rpm gramophone records, until replaced by vinyl in the 1950s. Vinyl - ie. polyvinyl chlorine or PVC - itself has long and interesting history.

The simple monomer, vinyl chloride (H2C=CHCl) was first produced in 1835 by Justus von Liebig (inventor of the Liebig condensor, if you've ever done distillation chemistry), but it wasn't until the early 20th century that anyone could come up with a use for the stuff. The polymer, polyvinyl chloride, was accidentally synthesized in 1872 by the German chemist Eugen Baumann when he left some liquid vinyl chloride exposed to sunlight which caused a white solid to form inside the flask. He noted the result but didn't investigate the matter further. Then in 1912, at the German chemical company Griesheim-Elektron in Stuttgart, Fritz Klatte was working trying to find a material that could be applied as a protective coating to the fabric of aircraft wings. One of the mixtures he tried was bubbling acetylene gas through hydrogen chloride in which there was dissolved mercury. When this mixture was allowed to stand in sunlight, again a milky sludge formed and then solidified. Like Eugen Baumann he had also accidentally made PVC and like Baumann he duly noted his ingedients. In thorough German fashion he filed a patent, but as he couldn't see any use for it because of the substance's unworkable brittleness, further work on it was dropped and the company let the patent lapse in 1925.

But just a year later in 1926, Waldo Semon of the B.F. Goodrich Company in America developed a method to plasticize PVC by blending it with various additives to give a much more flexible and more easily processed material. This modified material soon achieved widespread commercial use and now PVC is the world's third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer, after polyethylene and polypropylene.
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PostSubject: Edit: substance not subject   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 06 Dec 2019, 14:30

Thanks MM.  So shellac isn't strictly speaking a plastic but a natural substance.  is "ripstop" made of PVC - ripstop is a handy waterproof material sometimes.


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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 06 Dec 2019, 18:08

Ripstop is more about the way the fabric is woven, with reinforcing threads in a crosshatch pattern to make the cloth more tear proof because these crosshatch threads are either thicker or of a stronger material. While it is probably most often applied to woven nylon fabrics, the technique can be used for cloth woven from polyester (eg terylene), aramid fibres (eg kevlar and nomex), or polyester, or indeed from natural fibres like cotton or silk ... or a mix of fibres, for example a cloth of polyester, with the crosshatched ripstop threads being in nylon, which is stronger.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 06 Dec 2019, 21:26

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
Thanks MM.  So shellac isn't strictly speaking a plastic but a natural substance.  is "ripstop" made of PVC - ripstop is a handy waterproof material sometimes.
 
LiR and MM,

I made already a thread about shellac and the early shellac records
https://reshistorica.forumotion.com/t1316-historical-shellac-records

Kind regards to both of you. Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptySun 15 Dec 2019, 13:25

@Meles meles wrote:
Then in 1912, at the German chemical company Griesheim-Elektron in Stuttgart, Fritz Klatte was working trying to find a material that could be applied as a protective coating to the fabric of aircraft wings. One of the mixtures he tried was bubbling acetylene gas through hydrogen chloride in which there was dissolved mercury. When this mixture was allowed to stand in sunlight, again a milky sludge formed and then solidified. Like Eugen Baumann he had also accidentally made PVC and like Baumann he duly noted his ingedients. In thorough German fashion he filed a patent, but as he couldn't see any use for it because of the substance's unworkable brittleness, further work on it was dropped and the company let the patent lapse in 1925.

But just a year later in 1926, Waldo Semon of the B.F. Goodrich Company in America developed a method to plasticize PVC by blending it with various additives to give a much more flexible and more easily processed material. This modified material soon achieved widespread commercial use and now PVC is the world's third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer, after polyethylene and polypropylene.

To the lay person (i.e. a non-chemist) the term ‘synthetic plastic’ seems tautological. The primary distinction among types of plastic would seem to be between those which are plant or animal-based such as rubber and shellac and celluloid etc, and those which are mineral-based such as bakelite and polyester and polystyrene etc. It’s the latter category which we tend to think of most when we think of the word ‘plastic’. These useful polymers come in a baffling variety of forms and feature in almost every aspect of 21st century life. Yet plastic manages to be, perhaps, the greatest gift of technology in terms of versatility and application but also its worst curse in terms of waste management.

The question of the environmental impact of plastic briefly arose at our office Christmas party the other nite. Someone suggested that buying a plastic Christmas tree and using it for several years was actually less environmentally damaging than buying a real conifer each year. I have to say that I wasn’t particularly convinced by the argument either on a statistical level or on an aesthetic level. The disposal of used plastic continues to bedevil the world and the dreadful impact of plastic rubbish in the seas is well publicised. Another fellow then said that his environmental credentials only stretched as far as choosing to drink beer rather than mineral water. His reasoning being that beer comes in glass bottles or metal cans (which can be recycled) but never in plastic (which can only be recycled with difficulty). Mineral water, on the other hand, is quite often sold in plastic bottles. So, he exclaimed, let’s hear it for beer! This talk of beer then saw the topic of conversation turn to the latest results from the Heineken Champions Cup and on again from that winding along the path of inebriated group consciousness.

The issue of plastic in the seas, however, got me to thinking if historically there was an incident in which we can say, with hindsight, that that was the first known occasion when fully-synthetic plastic ended up in the sea. The most likely cause would have been a shipwreck or a plane crash. But it could equally have been as the result of the disposal (accidental or otherwise) of plastic piping or tools or other items relating to marine exploration or related diving enterprises etc. In terms of a shipwreck or plane crash then it would have to have been one in which it is known that there was definitely some form of mineral-based plastic aboard. Identifying this incident would seem to be relatively strait-forward. It would depend upon such things as how quickly and widespread the use of bakelite was after 1907. If it could be proven, for instance, that there had been bakelite fittings or products aboard, say, RMS Titanic in 1912 (or any other unsung cargo ship or fishing boat lost during that era) then that would be pretty conclusive. Failing that, then one would need to look at, say, how soon after 1926 it was before pvc was being routinely used in aircraft manufacture. For instance, the Imperial Airways airliner City of Ottawa which crashed into the British Channel in 1929 was a Handley Page Type W aircraft. It was specifically a W.10 version and was built in the second half of the decade. One wonders if there were any bakelite or pvc specifications in its design. I don’t think that pvc insulation for electrical wiring became widespread until the 1950s but there were other uses for it well before that. And later again, the Second World War saw many aircraft being built with windscreens made from perspex (acrylic glass). Needless to say that no few of those crashed into the sea.

Plastics - The History. thereof etc V0_full

(RMS Titanic off the coast of County Cork, Ireland 11 April 1912 three days before she sank. Was there any bakelite on board?)

Plastics - The History. thereof etc 440px-HP_W.8f

(A Handley Page Type W airliner of the type which crashed into the sea off Kent, England on 17 June 1929. Did it include any plastic in its design?)

Plastics - The History. thereof etc 61PGvPFXLYL._SX425_

(A 1939 German Luftwaffe Focke-Wulf 190 fighter plane with plexiglass canopy. But did any synthetic plastic end up in the oceans in the 30 years before 1940?)

There must be some incident after 1907 which one can point to as being when we know for certain that a specific vessel or aircraft containing mineral-based plastic in its design, or among its cargo, was then subsequently recorded as having been lost at sea. Such an event would surely be seminal in both the histories of plastic and the environment.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyMon 16 Dec 2019, 00:07

Vizzer, I wanted to reply about your Christmas office party and then wanted to reply to your paragraph about plant-animal based and mineral based plastics...we have in Dutch and German the word "kunststof (Kunststoff)". And there I think we have a better difference?
Plastics in English is in my opinion a bit vague (or I didn't find the exact terminology?).

Plastics, all plastics, are polymers

https://www.sciencehistory.org/science-of-plastics

And you have natural polymers and synthetic polymers...
Naturally occurring polymers include tar, shellac, tortoiseshell, animal horn, cellulose, amber, and latex from tree sap.
And for us with our connotation of "kunststof" it is only from the 19th century that you had then for the first time natural polymers modified by synthetic processes as "vulcanized rubber"

And then for the rest of the evening I got stuck with "tar" in the maritime world as in the skill of "breeuwen".
In English it seems to be "caulking" and with "oakum" (tar rope?)
https://www.britannica.com/science/wood-tar
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar
http://www.boat-building.org/learn-skills/index.php/en/wood/caulking-calking/



And I thought about your "ship" story. If it was about "natural" polymers as tar, each Viking ship seems to have needed up to 500 liter of tar.
That is quite a quantity going to the bottom of the sea, if it sank. But there weren't perhaps that many vessels in the Viking time as in the modern 19th century...
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6353865/Vikings-mass-produced-tar-used-waterproof-longships.html

Further Vizzer about your message tomorrow...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyMon 16 Dec 2019, 09:41

@Vizzer wrote:

There must be some incident after 1907 which one can point to as being when we know for certain that a specific vessel or aircraft containing mineral-based plastic in its design, or among its cargo, was then subsequently recorded as having been lost at sea. Such an event would surely be seminal in both the histories of plastic and the environment.

You do pose some interesting challenges. Almost certainly any large shipwreck in the first few decades of the twentieth century will have contained some bakelite items: pipe stems, billiard balls, fountain pens, the handles of knives and tools, door handles, parts of catering equipment, electric light fittings, small parts of the ships' electrical and communications systems etc. But I think you're asking for more specific examples and dates.

You questioned whether the Handley Page Type W airliner which crashed into the sea off Kent on 17 June 1929 had any plastic in its design, and though I'm not certain I strongly suspect the ignition system of the Napier-Lion engines contained small bakelite components. The contemporary American-built Liberty L-12 aero engine definitely used bakelite in its ignition system (see notes on the Liberty engine ignition system). The Liberty engine started to come into service in 1917, particularly for American-built Airco DH-4 and DH-9 aircraft, of which at least a couple of thousand saw service over France and over Italy during the war with both the British and American  airforces. The DH-4B variant, entering service in 1919, also had the propellor made of 'micarta', which was a wood/canvas/bakelite composite. The US Bureau of Aircraft Accident Archive lists various crashes of DH-4 aircraft in the 1920s (post war the DH-4 was a widely used civillian aircraft) but all seem to have been on land. However during the WW1 the Royal Navy Air Service had used DH-4s for coastal patrols over the Aegean (and on one occasion sank a German U-boat) so there could well be some ditched in the sea.

I suppose one could try and trace when specific common items came into service and were then installed on ships and aircraft that we know subsequently foundered. For example there's the Ericsson DBH 1001 telephone which was made in bakelite from 1931 onwards. Previously Ericsson phones had been made in pressed steel but the bakelite model had a more pleasing shape and rapidly became the standard world-wide. And so it is highly likely that, for example, the SS Athenia (torpedoed and sunk on the evening of 3rd Sept 1939) had bakelite phones or at least handsets, as part of her internal communications system (Athenia had been built in 1922 but had a major upgrade to her wireless, navigation and communication systems in 1934 - although whether that had included the installation of more modern Ericsson bakelite hand-sets ... well who can say?). 

But that too is a rather woolly example and I'm sure, if one could trace the design specifications, Ericsson phones would not be the earliest bakelite components that went down with a ship. Indeed, RMS Titanic, being a 'state-of-the-art' vessel on her maiden voyage, almost certainly had small bakelite components specified for use as part of her electrical generation, distribution, lighting and communications systems. And she definitely had several billiard tables amongst her recreational facilities - but were they equipped with bakelite or celluloid billiard balls? Or, because of her grandeur, were they still of real elephant-tusk ivory?

It's not an easy one to answer is it? But I'll keep thinking.


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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyMon 16 Dec 2019, 10:14

Again not quite what you were after, Viz, as it never ended up in the ocean, but this indicates that bakelite items were onboard the Titanic.

Plastics - The History. thereof etc Titanic-walking-stick

It's a walking stick with a bakelite handgrip which belonged to Titanic survivor Ella White. The bakelite fitting contained a small battery powered light, and the family story is that when in lifeboat no.8, she waved the light to attract rescue vessels. She certainly had the cane with her as she'd injured her food while touring Europe prior to boarding the Titanic home to America, and so at the time needed the help of the walking stick.

New York Post - Light up cane used by titanic survivor up for auction.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyMon 16 Dec 2019, 22:42

MM, as said in the "daily diaries" just entered and tomorrow early up...

Just this about "bakelite"  from our "Gentenaar" (Gantois) (he was even in Bruges): the Belgian: Leo Baekeland.

And his sad end of life...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Baekeland

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyTue 17 Dec 2019, 23:24

@Meles meles wrote:
Furthermore once nylon stockings were properly available did they even have a seam down the back? Certainly the very first experimental stockings made from DuPont's nylon were manufactured by Union Hosiery Company with a cotton seam and a silk welt and toe. 

MM,

as you said first with a seam. And can't it be a cotton welt and toe too?

https://buckinghamvintage.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/a-brief-history-of-vintage-stockings-seamed-fully-fashioned-silk-nylon-1940s-1950s-1960s-for-sale-as-new-in-sealed-original-packets/

From the article:

"The first nylon stockings were made from one flat piece of leg shaped nylon which needed to have the edges sewn together forming a dark seam up the back and the characteristic dark reinforced fashioned heels and toes."


I suppose it was only from the Fifties that the seamless were fabricated on a mould and given shape by steaming?


Plastics - The History. thereof etc 07-696zb


And drawings in WWII

Plastics - The History. thereof etc Painted-on-stockings

Can it be that afterwards the seam was trendy and remained as vintage?

In any case my mother had still the ones with seams...and I don't know how to call it a stockingsholder?...We called it "jaretellen"...
And the nearest I found as I recall it, is:

Plastics - The History. thereof etc 61zV7fGlzXL._UX425_

And some street further than my grandmother's house, where my sister and I lived, there was a lady, who made such jaretelles in "homeworking?". It was a friend of my grandmother and so I was many times in the house. She had to make them from the parts, she received from the factory. And on regular intervals someone came from the factory to take the finished products and pay her...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyThu 19 Dec 2019, 09:34

Apparently it's possible (in the USA anyway) to buy seamed tights.  I learned this by watching a video on a channel called TheClosetHistorian (I think 'closet' in the American sense of where you hang your clothes).  The lady behind the the channel is fairly young but has an interest in vintage clothes and was showing some of the vintage themed outfits she had assembled.  She mentioned that she didn't like suspender (well she said 'garter') belts so she buys seamed tights sometimes.  She's one of those people I watch fascinated because she has made her own basic pattern block to her size and then uses that as a basis for making patterns for her own vintage style clothes.  She also manages to find older clothes in secondhand shops and sometimes refashions them - apparently she has refashioned boxy 1980s coats into 1950s style coats.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 20 Dec 2019, 00:07

@Vizzer wrote:

The question of the environmental impact of plastic briefly arose at our office Christmas party the other nite. Someone suggested that buying a plastic Christmas tree and using it for several years was actually less environmentally damaging than buying a real conifer each year. I have to say that I wasn’t particularly convinced by the argument either on a statistical level or on an aesthetic level. The disposal of used plastic continues to bedevil the world and the dreadful impact of plastic rubbish in the seas is well publicised. Another fellow then said that his environmental credentials only stretched as far as choosing to drink beer rather than mineral water. His reasoning being that beer comes in glass bottles or metal cans (which can be recycled) but never in plastic (which can only be recycled with difficulty). Mineral water, on the other hand, is quite often sold in plastic bottles. So, he exclaimed, let’s hear it for beer! This talk of beer then saw the topic of conversation turn to the latest results from the Heineken Champions Cup and on again from that winding along the path of inebriated group consciousness.
 
Vizzer,

"So, he exclaimed, let’s hear it for beer! This talk of beer then saw the topic of conversation turn to the latest results from the Heineken Champions Cup and on again from that winding along the path of inebriated group consciousness. "

Sounds familiar to me...and that digressing was in our family of fathers side even out of the "café" a family trait...I think I have some genetic inheritance from that...

Yes nowadays it seems all to be about plastic, climate, animal rights... it can be at the end a bit annoying.

The plastic Christmas tree was also a discussion here in our local papers...it seems to be a European discussion... news media from one country look perhaps for news in the papers of other countries to have some window-dressing for their own use...

We have a small plastic Christmas tree, that I take each year from the long box, where it is folded up. I bow the branches open, some guirlandes around it and chains of a kind of fake pearls in shiny cupper colour. A lot of small light strings around the tree and some Christmas balls and that's it. Some twenty minutes work. Since fifteen years. And I think the tree can do it for fifteen other years.

Compare now with a mastodon of a real pine-tree in your living place...perhaps a bit more impressionant than my little plastic one...but at the end you have to clean your living because of the needles on the floor...four hours work to decorate...and only one use...all the poluting from the delivery by van each year...and then overhere and especially in the Netherlands: "kerstboomverbranding". I found no translation in the mighty Google...burning of the Christmas trees?



Vizzer, the plastic bottles will be for tomorrow. Already one o'clock in the morning overhere...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 20 Dec 2019, 14:57

I can't remember what the stuff was called but I bought some waterproofing that you paint on to fabric to make it waterproof - I have a couple of capes where the waterproofing has either worn off over time or was never 100% waterproof in the first place.  Unfortunately I can't find it at present but I know it's in the house.  Maybe that had a plastic component.  But I could buy a caghoul and maybe waterproof over-slacks from somewhere such as Millets I guess.  I suppose some waterproof garments are made out of (or treated with) plastic now though there is old-fashioned oilskin.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 20 Dec 2019, 21:54

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
I can't remember what the stuff was called but I bought some waterproofing that you paint on to fabric to make it waterproof - I have a couple of capes where the waterproofing has either worn off over time or was never 100% waterproof in the first place.  Unfortunately I can't find it at present but I know it's in the house.  Maybe that had a plastic component.  But I could buy a caghoul and maybe waterproof over-slacks from somewhere such as Millets I guess.  I suppose some waterproof garments are made out of (or treated with) plastic now though there is old-fashioned oilskin.
 
LiR, about a raincoat (we call it in our dialect the same as in French: an imperméable). I recall from after the war some bad stuff, fabric coated with I don't know what and after a time the surface cracked and came off in dots from the fabric as the fabric was too flexilble and the coat too brittle. Even some years ago the partner had bougth also such one, when even 30 years ago there were already valable alternatives.
I think that the better raincoats now have fabric, where the fibers are directly drenched in a kind of water reppelent plastic?

I looked for "imperméable" and found the history in the French wiki much more in depth than in the English wiki.
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperm%C3%A9able
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raincoat

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 20 Dec 2019, 22:59

@Vizzer wrote:
 Another fellow then said that his environmental credentials only stretched as far as choosing to drink beer rather than mineral water. His reasoning being that beer comes in glass bottles or metal cans (which can be recycled) but never in plastic (which can only be recycled with difficulty). Mineral water, on the other hand, is quite often sold in plastic bottles. So, he exclaimed, let’s hear it for beer!  

Vizzer, me again...

recycled glass bottles versus recycled plastic bottles...not an easy question...I guess that the recycled plastic bottles are better for the environment than the glass ones...

But I was surprized this evening to read a study about PVC in the EU. How difficult it is to make a choice for PVC between recycling, incineration and landfill
https://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/studies/pvc/economic_eval.pdf
Read: 7. Conclusions.
Of course it concerns here the whole PVC waste and not the plastic bottles, taken in an apart bag by the garbage truck from the municipality.

Plastics - The History. thereof etc Adaptive-image_480-300-255_720-300-255_size_8346Plastics - The History. thereof etc 251a10e1d64c2d30ec9e4bfd429fefc3ce4fdc8f

I do some 8 weeks (we can add the tins too) to fill a bag as I flatten both the plastic bottles and the tins.

And as I guess these PVC waste, as high quality PVC, will be able to be added to virgin PVC. 
So less cost I guess for producing PVC bottles as glass needs a lot more energy (I guess) to be produced and hence an advantage above glass recycling...?

From what I learned this evening I have the impression that we better first read about honest scientifical studies before to listen to whatever politicians. Or perhaps can the politicians support their arguments with these university studies, explained in layman's terms to the man in the street Wink.  And the environment supporters can then have a debate (an honest debate, if that is possible Wink) with the politicians?

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptySat 21 Dec 2019, 15:17

I'd forgotten but the plastic container holding my washing up liquid is made of "ocean plastic" which I take to mean it is recycled from plastic taken from the ocean or washed up on the beach.  I have no idea whether the recycling process is cheap or expensive.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyMon 23 Dec 2019, 22:11

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
I'd forgotten but the plastic container holding my washing up liquid is made of "ocean plastic" which I take to mean it is recycled from plastic taken from the ocean or washed up on the beach.  I have no idea whether the recycling process is cheap or expensive.
 
LiR,

I started with "ocean plastic" and immediately came to my mind a recent initiative of a young Dutch, who made a machine to clean the oceans...

https://www.wsj.com/articles/companies-go-to-new-depths-for-ocean-plastic-in-recycling-push-11572875512

Plastics - The History. thereof etc Im-123057?width=620&size=1

And already the critiques

https://www.dezeen.com/2019/08/19/ocean-cleanup-plastic-burning-electricity-news/

But nevertheless:
"Founded in 2013 by Dutch entrepreneur Boyan Slat, the Ocean Cleanup says it plans to remove 90 per cent of plastic waste from the world's oceans using fleets of 600-metre-long floating rigs."

And how does plastic end up in the ocean?

https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/how-does-plastic-end-ocean

And I just read now studies that a lot comes from litter of ships. Although I can nearly believe it, as I think the total crew of merchant ships is not that big in relation with the waste of the world population.

As for my own recycling LiR...
I bought 3 shopping baskets online: one for me, one for the grandson and one for reserve...

Plastics - The History. thereof etc Winkelmandje-68.0011.5-1

I loaded already some 20 kg (40 pounds) in it.  Not packaged stuff I take in thin plastic bags offered by the shop and on arrival at home, immediately unload them from the bags and put the bags in the waste container for each week removal by the municipality I guess for incineration. But they speak to make a third specific waste bag for all plastics other than bottles, for recycling.

And I guess your washing up plastic bottle is indeed from recycled "ocean plastic"...and I think the firm paid the more cost of recycling for advertisement reasons?

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyTue 24 Dec 2019, 14:32

Paul, if that Dutch ocean clean-up operation works then it seems to me it would be very beneficial.

There used to be a lady who lived up the road (going back to the 1960s) who used to make Spirella corsets (or maybe she took her customers' measurements and sent them off to Spirella for the item to be made).  [url=en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirella]en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirella[/url]  I suppose those would be made of a combination of plastic (well elasticised material) and maybe steel boning though I think plastic boning is used sometimes.  There is a community of people who sew corsets who post online.  I made myself not a corset but a "waspie" sort of thing (not at all sexy - this was for support and or my back can get achy if I do jobs like ironing or weeding*) and used plastic boning but one of the plastic bones broke.  Still I can always stick another plastic bone in.

* Even I get virtuous and do these types of chores sometimes.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyWed 25 Dec 2019, 22:37

LiR,

thank you for the immediate reply. And thanks for the story about the Spirella.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirella

"I made myself not a corset but a "waspie" sort of thing (not at all sexy - this was for support and or my back can get achy if I do jobs like ironing or weeding*) and used plastic boning but one of the plastic bones broke."


We bought some weeks ago in advertisement, also with plastic boning, from the "Aldi"
https://www.aldi.co.uk/ in advertisement for 10 Euro (9 £) something in this sense

Plastics - The History. thereof etc SKU131847-_1_large

LiR, BTW what is?
I do jobs like ironing or weeding*"
"* Even I get virtuous and do these types of chores sometimes."

"virtuous"? and "chores"?

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyWed 25 Dec 2019, 22:52

Paul, ironing "repasser" in French and weeding (pulling up weeds in the garden) are tasks I'm not all that keen on but which have to be done.  When I mentioned being virtuous and doing such chores I meant that I will sometimes be good and make myself do tasks which I've procrastinated about.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyWed 25 Dec 2019, 23:38

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
Paul, ironing "repasser" in French and weeding (pulling up weeds in the garden) are tasks I'm not all that keen on but which have to be done.  When I mentioned being virtuous and doing such chores I meant that I will sometimes be good and make myself do tasks which I've procrastinated about.

Thanks LiR.

Good girl, I know you were...ironing and weeding...

And the garden is also a burden to me, that I easely "procrastinate" (uitstellen I learned today)
https://en.bab.la/dictionary/dutch-english/uitstellen
And that difficult word is of course from Latin...
https://www.etymonline.com/word/procrastination

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyThu 26 Dec 2019, 16:45

I gave myself a bit of a fright today because I could not find a certain bit of plastic - namely my debit card.  Fortunately I found it - I have a Voucher to use in Boots (a UK shop) and the card had found its way into the little envelope in which the Voucher has been placed.  If I remember correctly I first had a debit card in the 1980s (when I was commuting and sometimes the hours I worked made it difficult to call in to a bank personally to get money out).  Not plastic but I remember doors that open automatically coming into use - the first time I came across one it startled me rather but of course now we take these things for granted.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyThu 26 Dec 2019, 19:13

LiR, excuse me again for my "dur de comprenure", but I have only credit cards. What is the difference between a debet card and a credit card?

Kind regards, Paul.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 27 Dec 2019, 09:03

With a debit card (though it's often just referred to as a 'bank card') the money goes out of the bank account of the person who holds the card straightaway https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debit_card whereas with a credit card one is sent a statement once a month requesting payment of the amount expended on said credit card.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 27 Dec 2019, 09:03

Deleted - double post.


Last edited by LadyinRetirement on Mon 13 Jan 2020, 16:03; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyTue 31 Dec 2019, 11:07

A couple of the pre-Christmas meals I attended earlier this month both had some crackers made (I think) by Shelter.  I got the same paper with a riddle on it and dodgy joke and ornament (small) both times when I pulled a cracker.  The ornament was a little wooden one with the words "Please support Shelter"*.  I'm mentioning this because the wooden ornaments are provided to try and reduce plastic waste (novelties inside crackers often used to be - and maybe still are in other brands of crackers - made of plastic).

* Shelter is a homeless charity in the UK.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptySun 12 Jan 2020, 16:28

@PaulRyckier wrote:
...we have in Dutch and German the word "kunststof (Kunststoff)". And there I think we have a better difference?
Plastics in English is in my opinion a bit vague (or I didn't find the exact terminology?).

Plastics, all plastics, are polymers

https://www.sciencehistory.org/science-of-plastics

And you have natural polymers and synthetic polymers...
Naturally occurring polymers include tar, shellac, tortoiseshell, animal horn, cellulose, amber, and latex from tree sap.
And for us with our connotation of "kunststof" it is only from the 19th century that you had then for the first time natural polymers modified by synthetic processes as "vulcanized rubber" ...

... And I thought about your "ship" story. If it was about "natural" polymers as tar, each Viking ship seems to have needed up to 500 liter of tar.
That is quite a quantity going to the bottom of the sea, if it sank.

Some very good points there Paul. The main issue would seem to be that while all plastics are polymers (as you rightly say) not all polymers are plastic. What I mean by this is that whereas tar is plastic (adjective) it is not plastic (noun). In other words it is not ‘a plastic’ (or at least not a mineral-based synthetic plastic). Tar does, however, provide an interesting case study in this because while the mineral variant is ‘natural’, it is the plant-based variant which is ‘synthetic’. This apparent contradiction would seem to confound our 21st century pre-suppositions on the topic.

@Meles meles wrote:
The contemporary American-built Liberty L-12 aero engine definitely used bakelite in its ignition system (see notes on the Liberty engine ignition system). The Liberty engine started to come into service in 1917, particularly for American-built Airco DH-4 and DH-9 aircraft, of which at least a couple of thousand saw service over France and over Italy during the war with both the British and American  airforces. The DH-4B variant, entering service in 1919, also had the propellor made of 'micarta', which was a wood/canvas/bakelite composite. The US Bureau of Aircraft Accident Archive lists various crashes of DH-4 aircraft in the 1920s (post war the DH-4 was a widely used civillian aircraft) but all seem to have been on land. However during the WW1 the Royal Navy Air Service had used DH-4s for coastal patrols over the Aegean (and on one occasion sank a German U-boat) so there could well be some ditched in the sea.

I suppose one could try and trace when specific common items came into service and were then installed on ships and aircraft that we know subsequently foundered. For example there's the Ericsson DBH 1001 telephone which was made in bakelite from 1931 onwards. Previously Ericsson phones had been made in pressed steel but the bakelite model had a more pleasing shape and rapidly became the standard world-wide. And so it is highly likely that, for example, the SS Athenia (torpedoed and sunk on the evening of 3rd Sept 1939) had bakelite phones or at least handsets, as part of her internal communications system (Athenia had been built in 1922 but had a major upgrade to her wireless, navigation and communication systems in 1934 - although whether that had included the installation of more modern Ericsson bakelite hand-sets ... well who can say?).

But that too is a rather woolly example and I'm sure, if one could trace the design specifications, Ericsson phones would not be the earliest bakelite components that went down with a ship. Indeed, RMS Titanic, being a 'state-of-the-art' vessel on her maiden voyage, almost certainly had small bakelite components specified for use as part of her electrical generation, distribution, lighting and communications systems. And she definitely had several billiard tables amongst her recreational facilities - but were they equipped with bakelite or celluloid billiard balls? Or, because of her grandeur, were they still of real elephant-tusk ivory?

Many thanks Meles for those very useful pointers. Leo Baekeland began manufacturing electrical insulators in 1910 although, as you suggest, this was perhaps too late to be part of the design of Titanic whose electrical components were generally supplied by William McGeoch & Co. Ltd. of Glasgow (copper, rubber and ceramic):

Plastics - The History. thereof etc Im1911SB-McG

The first class suites and staterooms boasted dimming electric lights, portable electric lights and also highly decorative ormolu (gold-plated bronze) light fittings. The ormolu fittings being supplied by N. Burt & Co of London. The telephone system was supplied by Alfred Graham & Co of Halifax (copper, rubber and brass):

Plastics - The History. thereof etc 84-2013101017206_540x360

(An Alfred Graham navyphone recovered from wreck of HMS Falmouth off the Yorkshire coast.)

The light cruiser Falmouth had been built in 1910 and was sunk by a German U-boat in August 1916. All the ship’s crew were able to be taken off by trawlers and tugboats before she went down. The telephone is identical to those supplied to the White Star Line’s Olympic-class liners including Titanic. So it seems that although Titanic was built and sailed at the dawning of the Age of Plastic she wasn’t part of it.  

As far as I know the first bakelite telephone was made in 1925 by the American company Automatic Electric (AE) of Chicago. In terms of shipping, however, then it’s pretty certain that any vessel built after 1925 would have contained bakerlite fittings. The task would then be to find a ship built after that date which sank soon afterwards. Examples would be the MV Monte Cervantes, a German passenger liner built in Hamburg in 1927 and which ran aground off Cape Horn in January 1930 and later sank and also MS Georges Philippar, a French ocean liner built in St Nazaire in 1930 and which burned and sank under mysterious circumstances off the coast of Aden in 1932.
   
But we don’t need to go the 1930s to find an example or even to the 1920s. In 1919 (and returning to aircraft) the Norwich based company of Boulton & Paul built their P.10 model 2-seater bi-plane:

Boulton & Paul P.10

It was exhibited at the Paris Air Show that year where it caused a stir since its fuselage included bakelite panels. Only one P.10, however, was ever built and it didn’t crash into the sea. Nil desperandum (and pending a confirmed example of a machine of the British RAF or the American Naval Flying Corps or the Hellenic Naval Air Service etc being downed in the sea during the First World War) we do from that same year have an example of a peacetime crash of a de Havilland DH.4 which ditched into the Strait of Dover en route from Paris to Croydon on 20 October 1919:

https://www.baaa-acro.com/crash/crash-de-havilland-dh4a-folkestone

(Coincidentally 100 years to the week before Priscilla opened this thread.)
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptySun 12 Jan 2020, 21:19

@Vizzer wrote:
@PaulRyckier wrote:
...we have in Dutch and German the word "kunststof (Kunststoff)". And there I think we have a better difference?
Plastics in English is in my opinion a bit vague (or I didn't find the exact terminology?).

Plastics, all plastics, are polymers

https://www.sciencehistory.org/science-of-plastics

And you have natural polymers and synthetic polymers...
Naturally occurring polymers include tar, shellac, tortoiseshell, animal horn, cellulose, amber, and latex from tree sap.
And for us with our connotation of "kunststof" it is only from the 19th century that you had then for the first time natural polymers modified by synthetic processes as "vulcanized rubber" ...

... And I thought about your "ship" story. If it was about "natural" polymers as tar, each Viking ship seems to have needed up to 500 liter of tar.
That is quite a quantity going to the bottom of the sea, if it sank.

Some very good points there Paul. The main issue would seem to be that while all plastics are polymers (as you rightly say) not all polymers are plastic. What I mean by this is that whereas tar is plastic (adjective) it is not plastic (noun). In other words it is not ‘a plastic’ (or at least not a mineral-based synthetic plastic). Tar does, however, provide an interesting case study in this because while the mineral variant is ‘natural’, it is the plant-based variant which is ‘synthetic’. This apparent contradiction would seem to confound our 21st century pre-suppositions on the topic.

Vizzer,

now you did me hesitate...

https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/plastic_2
1. made of plastic
2. a plastic substance can be bent into any shape and will keep that shape

I looked to the Dutch words. And now I see it is the same: 1. plastic. 2.among others: kneedbaar (malleable (same as in French))

And yes: then all polymers aren't plastic.
And although I learned that much about polymers in the "kunststoftechniek" (synthetic plastic technique?) I learned today that I have to say?
naturally occuring polymers and synthetic polymers? naturally occuring polymers and plastics?

And also I remember the 
"thermoharders" (thermohardners?) Once formed they can not become malleable again. 
Thermoplasts: can become malleable again by heat and harden again in cold. Several times in any case. 
Elastomeren (elastomers) like synthetic rubber, when stretched they come back to their original shape.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyMon 13 Jan 2020, 08:15

@Vizzer wrote:

Some very good points there Paul. The main issue would seem to be that while all plastics are polymers (as you rightly say) not all polymers are plastic. What I mean by this is that whereas tar is plastic (adjective) it is not plastic (noun). In other words it is not ‘a plastic’ (or at least not a mineral-based synthetic plastic). Tar does, however, provide an interesting case study in this because while the mineral variant is ‘natural’, it is the plant-based variant which is ‘synthetic’. This apparent contradiction would seem to confound our 21st century pre-suppositions on the topic.

Careful ... substances like pitch, tree resin, tar and bitumen are naturally occurring (ie non synthetic) polymers, but they are not plastic in even an adjective or noun way. Strictly they are visco-elastic polymers. This means that even though they seem to be solid at room temperature and can be shattered with a hard impact, they are actually fluid and will flow over time, but extremely slowly due to their extreme viscosity. There have been several very long term experiments to observe this. The pitch drop experiment taking place at the University of Queensland has been running since the 1930s when some pitch was put in a glass funnel and allowed to slowly drip out. In the the nearly eighty years since, only nine drops have fallen, and accordingly it has been calculated that the pitch has a viscosity approximately 230 billion (2.3×1011) times that of water. The eighth drop fell on 28 November 2000, and the ninth drop fell on 17 April 2014. Another experiment was begun in 1944 in the physics department of Trinity College in Ireland, and there's another demonstration that's been running at Winchester College (the public school in England) since 1906 but does not have records of regular measurements.

Plastics - The History. thereof etc Pitch-drop-experiment
The University of Queensland's long-running 'pitch drop' experiment.

As adjectives elastic and plastic are rather precise terms. Elasticity means the substance deforms in a manner directly proportional to the applied load and the deformation is reversable - it acts like a spring (it obeys Hooke's Law): ie if you hang a weight on a wire of the material it will extend by an amount; double the weight and it will extent twice as much; triple the weight and it will extend three times as much: take all the weight off and it will go back to its original unweighted length.

But this applies only up to the yield point. With higher loading the extension is no longer directly proportional to the load, and it requires successivly lower loads to attain the same degree of extension because the material has now 'yielded' and any further deformation is now irreversible. When all the loading is removed the material will no longer go back to its unloaded length but will now have been deformed/extended permanantly. It is then said to have deformed plastically. 

Plastics - The History. thereof etc Stress-strain-curve

Ductile materials such as copper, mild steel, aluminium, many polymers and some ceramics, exhibit a clear yield point at which plastic flow initiates and permanent deformation is heterogeneously distributed along the sample. With other more brittle materials, such as cast-iron, hardened steel, glass, concrete, bakelite and hard resins, rupture occurs without any noticeable prior change in the rate of elongation, therefore they do not show any plastic deformation but rather fail while the deformation is still elastic

Many plastics (noun) do typically behave plastically (adjective) but many others do not. And as Paul says the major distinction between the types of synthetic polymers is between those that are thermoplastic and soften when heated because the heat decreases the degree of cross-linking between the polymer chains (nylon, PVC, acrylic, polythene, polystyrene, teflon); and those that harden when heated because the heat increases the degree of permanent cross-linking between polymer chains (bakelite, vulcanised rubber, melamine, most polyuethanes, epoxies and polyester resins). Thermoplastics generally soften and eventually melt as they are heated, and so they can be moulded when hot, hardening up again as they cool down. Thermosets harden or cure as they are are heated, but once set the chemical bonding is irreversible and so they cannot be remelted for reshaping.


Last edited by Meles meles on Sat 18 Jan 2020, 14:15; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : I made a bad mistake in my original narrative of the stress/strain curve although common sense would have shown it to be obviously the opposite of what I meant)
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptyFri 17 Jan 2020, 22:23

MM, thank you very much for this interesting message, interesting at least to me, as I was my whole career confronted with all such things as viscosity, which are very important about paints. We had also in our factory paralell to our paint labo, also a man of (we called it the "iron" labo), with whom I had good connections, as we together were the "chemists" in that manufacture of mainly steel constructing.

Before I saw your test I wouldn't have believed in your: The University of Queensland's long-running 'pitch drop' experiment. And yes iron in liquid form has also a viscosity?


Too late now to start a thread about a kind of another experiment, or at least a question, where adhesion, tensioactivity and a lot more plays a role. Nearly as complex or even more than discussing myths.


As I and colleagues were constantly busy with metal degraising, phosphating, painting and also "filmthickness"...the average filmthickness of your car is about 75 micron in three layers...we were asking ourselves as nearly a joke: what would be the filmthickness of a waterfilm in wed status on a steel plate and by extrapolation on our body, when we came out of bath? Wink
And up to now the question of some 40 years ago remains unanswered...


Be carefull: I did alreaady some preliminary research on the internet and the question is unbelievable difficult...even on a vertical hanging steel plate...


See you tomorow and kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plastics - The History. thereof etc   Plastics - The History. thereof etc EmptySat 18 Jan 2020, 20:36

MM, as we had to study the physical properties of paint (the chemical ones were done in the paint factory), we had to do the viscosity test with a calibrated device as the one I think you mentioned in your "pitch-drop" experiment. It had the form of a cup with a standardized form


Plastics - The History. thereof etc 4149b4IePDL._SX425_

As we were an American firm, we did it with the American cup ASTM norm, but you had also the French Afnor norm and the German Din norm.
And now the international ISO norm. But in the 21th century, you can still not compare one with the other I read now.
And viscosity of oil, paint, in fact any liquid or viscous material at a given temperature is very important to know...

That said, I measured in the time the viscosity of water in that cup and as the viscosity of paint to spray handmade had normally to be 20 seconds at 21 C°, I think to recall that that of water was some 10 seconds.

But if you have to start to reason why a viscosity in that cup differs, I think no scientist has done it till today, as it has to do with adhesion on the surface of the cup and "is the paint/varnish a dispersion or an emulsion? or both?"...and so on and so on...

But back to filmthickness of my wed body coming out from the shower cabin...I think that too is too complex to measure...while is it in demineralized water or normal tap water? are there still rests of tensioactif in the water (I think nowadays "soap" is oldfashioned?)

Just to measure the filmthickness of flowing water on a vertical surface, see what difficulties there are to measure...
Two sources I found, that you MM as a PH.D from the steel industry can perhaps interpret...?
https://www.academia.edu/24260719/Minimum_thickness_of_a_flowing_down_liquid_film_on_a_vertical_surface
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00223131.2015.1102779

Am I right that they have values of an nearly unbelievable 300 mikron?

Kind regards, Paul.
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