Degradable products are made from plastic material that is oil or petroleum based. They do not decompose or completely deteriorate through natural processes. Their state of degradation will lead to a loss of properties, resulting in a reduction of quality. This form of degradation is merely the breaking down of the unique material, which incorporates oil or petroleum, into smaller fragments. A degradable product is able to being converted into a unique chemical structure, and can often leave residues within the environment.
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Degradable plastics are made from polymers, that are described as having a sequence-like structure. Polymer sources on this case may be natural starch, protein, rubber and cellulose, or man-made, like polyethylene, polypropylene, phenol-formaldehyde resin (Bakelite) or urea-formaldehyde resins, polyester resins, vinyl acetate, methyl acetate or vinyl chloride.
The next is a short description on how degradable products are manufactured:
– At the extrusion stage of the plastic production, a professional-degradant can be introduced to the material. The pro-degradant is within the form of metal-salt and might be added to the polymer to act as a catalyst. This now will cause the breakdown of the polymer’s molecular chain structure. It is claimed that only 1 to 3% of the pro-degradant additive needs to be added to a complete master batch of plastic being processed. The plastic material will become brittle, thus giving it the aptitude to disintegrate into tiny flakes.
– Some type of stabilizers will even be added to the master batch to serve as protection for the pro-degradant substance when the plastic pellets go through the melting process. The quantity of stabilizer added however, will rely upon the purpose of the plastic product being formed; hence, the quantity of stabilizers required will depend on the time-scale fit for the product’s purpose.
– As a note, extrusion is described because the stage when the plastic, still in its pellet form, will enter a machine called Extruder. That is where the plastic pellet will likely be softened by heat and friction. It is going to then be forced or extruded out of the machine, and goes into cool water where it would solidify.