2 Fiberglass Reinforced PlasticsCelluloid, although the first synthetic material, did not advance themolded products industry as it could not be molded. Shellacs andbituminous cold-mold plastics continued to dominate the industry until1909, which marked the introduction of phenol-formaldehyde. Dr.Bakeland is accredited with invention of phenol-formaldehyde resin,which was the first synthetic, moldable plastic material. Since its debut,more than 50 distinct families of plastics have been invented with literallyhundreds of variations of these materials. Table l-l summarizes themajor developments in the plastics field up to 1909.Today, when one refers to engineering plastics, those most frequentlythought of are the acetals, nylons, phenolics, polycarbonates and fluoro-carbons. The growth rate of plastics in industrial and commercial usagesurpasses most conventional materials such as metals, rubber, ceramics,textiles and paper due to superiorities in flexibility, strength-to-weightratio, abrasion resistance, energy absorption of foams, thermal and elec-trical insulation variety in color and clarity, and resistance to inorganicand/or organic chemicals. At the same time, plastics in general areplagued with a large number of deficiencies. Table l-2 summarizes someof the general advantages and disadvantages of plastics. There are threegeneral classes of plastics; Thermoplastics, Thermoset Plastics andThermoplastic-Thermoset.
Thermoplastics are commonly converted into molded productsthrough injection molding processes and, hence, are more commonlyreferred to as injection materials. Additives such as plasticizers, which areusually nonvolatile organics, are added by hot mixing or solution mixingwith a solvent or by dry blending, to improve the materials flexibilityand processability. Stabilizing agents are also added to thermoplastics toprevent thermal degradation and deterioration by light or oxidation.Fluorescent additives are sometimes added to certain thermal plastics tomeet color specifications. A brief description of the major thermoplasticmaterials is in order.
Table l-l: Chronological Development of Plastics to 1909
1820 First rubber processing plant was built.1834 Liebig isolated melamine.1835 Pelouze nitrated cellulose.Regnault developed vinyl chloride.(continued)