Plastics are extracted from various materials found in nature, such as natural gas, oil, coal, minerals and plants. The raw materials used nowadays to make plastic come from many places, but most plastics can be made from the hydrocarbons that are readily available in natural gas, oil and coal. The two main processes that are commonly used to produce plastics are polymerisation and polycondensation. Both of these processes require specific catalysts. Different types of plastic raw materials have different types of uses. Polypropylene plastic raw material is very common in interior applications in the automotive industry. Interested in purchasing plastic raw materials? Browse through this category for various plastic raw materials available in Zambian stores.
Plastics are made from raw materials like natural gas, oil or plants, which are refined into ethane and propane. Ethane and propane are then treated with heat in a process called “cracking” which turns them into ethylene and propylene. These materials are combined together to create different polymers.
Most plastic in use today comes from hydrocarbons derived from crude oil, natural gas and coal – fossil fuels.
1. Extraction of raw materials (largely crude oil and natural gas, but also coal) – these are a complex mixture of thousands of compounds that then need to be processed.
2. Refining process transforms crude oil into different petroleum products – these are converted to yield useful chemicals including “monomers” (a molecule that is the basic building blocks of polymers). In the refining process, crude oil is heated in a furnace, which is then sent to the distillation unit, where heavy crude oil separates into lighter components called fractions. One of these, called naphtha, is the crucial compound to make a large amount of plastic. However, there are other means, such as using gas.
3. Polymerisation is a process in the petroleum industry where light olefin gases (gasoline) such as ethylene, propylene, butylene (i.e., monomers) are converted into higher molecular weight hydrocarbons (polymers). This happens when monomers are chemically bonded into chains. There are two different mechanisms for polymerisation:
4. Compounding/Processing In compounding, various blends of materials are melt blended (mixed by melting) to make formulations for plastics.
Although crude oil is a source of raw material (feedstock) for making plastics, it is not the major source of feedstock for plastics production in the United States. Plastics are produced from natural gas, feedstocks derived from natural gas processing, and feedstocks derived from crude oil refining.
Plastics are a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic materials that use polymers as a main ingredient. Their plasticity makes it possible for plastics to be moulded, extruded or pressed into solid objects of various shapes.
A process is under development for making polyesters which is independent of crude oil, since it uses ethylene as its feedstock. Ethylene, conveniently, can be made out of natural gas liquids, or even shale gas itself.
Plastic that's synthesized from oil and natural gas is made by isolating hydrocarbons, breaking them down into their component parts and then reconstituting these parts into entirely new formations never before seen in nature.