Manufacturing and applications

All modern plastics are based on carbon atoms and their abilities to form compounds with:

  • hydrogen;
  • oxygen;
  • nitrogen;
  • chlorine; or
  • fluorine.

The combinations are arranged in chains of complex molecular compounds called polymers, made of large macromolecules composed of monomers, or chemicalbonded small molecules. Each monomer, therefore, consists of over 10,000 atoms (compare with water, H2O, which has just three atoms).

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Thermosets can only be heated and cooled once. Thermoplastics, however, can be reheated and ...

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