Since the discovery of bakelite in the early 1900s, man-made or synthetic plastics have become a major constituent of many items we use every day. Plastics have many properties that make them ideal for a broad range of applications. Thermoset plastics, those that harden by curing with heat, are particularly well suited for molding, casting, pressing, and extruding. The malleability characteristic of plastics allows for unique shapes and custom plastic extrusion parts that would be difficult or impossible to create with other materials.
Plastics have found use in a huge variety of consumer products. As a result, the US plastics industry is the third-largest manufacturing industry employing almost a million people. In 2012, a total volume of approximately 55 million tons of plastic was made. On the long list of uses, some of the most common applications include packaging, textiles, and transportation.
Plastics in Packaging
The ability to form plastic …