Plastics in the Modern World
Americans have a love-hate affair with plastic. We often look down on plastic imitations of natural products, yet we use plastic every day—and there are more than 10,000 kinds of plastics! The use of plastics has been increasing by about ten percent per year over the past three decades, due to its benefits and unique properties. In this seminar, we will explore how plastic parts are made and recycled. We will also explore how lightweight, stiff, strong plastic composites are made and provide benefits over traditional heavy materials. Plastics are the answer for many modern needs, from bridges, cars, planes, and armor. Students will have hands-on experiences making plastic parts in the lab using different techniques (injection molding, 3-D printing) and learning how plastic parts are tested.