Organic substances, in chemistry, refer to substances containing carbon. Carbon has a very useful electronic configuration which allows it to bond easily with 4 atoms at once.
The basic organic molecules, alkanes, alkenes and alkynes, contain only carbon and hydrogen. However, many other ‘functional groups’, can be added to the carbon chain to change the properties of the substance. For example, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur or chlorine. However the vast majority of plastics do not contain the latter two.
If you aren’t familiar with the structure of organic compounds, here is an example:
The above substance is polyester. The brackets and subscript ’n’ around this diagram représentant the fact that this is a single unit of polyester, which is repeated in a chain to create the full fabric. As you can see, there is only carbon, hydrogen and oxygen in polyester (the three elements most common in the human body). The overall structure is reasonably complex, with two standard methyl links, two ester groups, and an aromatic ring (benzene).
So, where do the elements and substances, that make up plastics like polyester, come from?
The answer is, of course, from fossil fuels. Crude oil, petroleum, coal, and natural gas are entirely composed of these organic substances, and plastics are made by utilising various chemical processes, with chemicals from fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels, in turn, are made of dead and compressed organic matter (this time referring to things that were previously alive, like trees).
So if you were to go way back into the history of the atoms in that pair of polyester underwear you’re wearing, they might have been part of a dinosaur, or a huge tree.
Now Enough About Plastic Making Process, Let us talk about how plastic is molded into various shapes.
Plastic Molding Processes-