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the polymer used on a machine part for the processing division in a multi-division corporation. The small plastic part in this machine broke, and without a new part, the machine cannot function. In order to do this, lab members in an R&D lab performed a series of tests on five different polymers. One of these five polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polycarbonate, or poly(vinyl chloride)) is the polymer used in constructing the small plastic part. The tests that were performed in the lab are as follows: Visual inspection, density test, flame test, and two oven tests at different temperatures. After performing these tests and analyzing the results, it was concluded that the plastic piece was constructed from polypropylene.
876). or poly(vinyl chloride). manufactured the original part. . each polymer was tested allowing the polymer to be identified. In order to gain a better understanding of these materials. Background The five polymers that were tested are as follows: Polyethylene. Polypropylene is also a thermoplastic polymer. Through the use of an R&D lab and some very basic lab equipment.Introduction A specialty machine that is used in the processing division of a multi-division corporation is out of order due to the failure of a small plastic piece. and plastic films(Uses of Polymers and Plastics). A thermoplastic polymer is a polymer that. A replacement for this piece is necessary to keep the processing division running smoothly. varying with a changing value of n. It has been agreed upon with the maintenance engineering department that the plastic piece was composed of one of five very common polymers: Polyethylene. Essentially. polycarbonate. Some common uses for polyethylene are plastic bags. polystyrene. bottles. a monomer is the building block of a polymer. It is based on the monomer CnH2n(Lenntech). polycarbonate. Kauffman Ltd. Polyethylene’s monomer is C2H4. polypropylene. however due to extenuating circumstances the specifications for the small plastic piece are unavailable. and poly(vinyl chloride). polystyrene. can become ductile and pliable. it is important to describe their individual properties and uses. Polyethylene is a thermoplastic polymer. A monomer is “a stable molecule from which a polymer is synthesized”(Rethwisch & Callister. polypropylene. where n is an integer. when heated. and can return to a solid state once cooled down. This implies that there are many different types of polypropylene. Some common uses for polypropylene are packing. plastic bags.
72.30 .0 . is a very widely produced plastic that is used widely in construction. used in applications such as CD and DVD cases. lids. and bottles (Polypropylene Properties and Uses). Polycarbonate is a thermoplastic polymer. Table 1.37.28 .4 Poly(vinyl-chloride) (C2H3Cl)n 1.4 Polycarbonate C16H14O3 (Repeat Unit) 1.41. It is a polymer that is easily molded and manipulated with application of heat.0-14. 137(HD).plastic films. some of its applications are electronic components. and automotive.2 175 31. The key properties that were tested were: appearance. and cutlery (Uses of Polymers and Plastics).69. 26. Polystyrene is a synthetic aromatic polymer.4 212.2 31.08(HD) 115(LD) 33. bottles. data storage.0.8 .58 29.29 2. signs.7 Polymer Molecular Formula While performing this lab.959 1. Lastly.0 .05 2. 9.1Polyethylene (C2H4)n 0.282(LD). and furniture (Uses of Polymers and Plastics). Table 1. and security components (Uses of Polymers and Plastics).44. aircraft.0(HD) Polystyrene (C8H8)n 1.51. electric cables.9 .3-31.57. The chemical forumula is (C2H3Cl)n.925 .1 below shows each polymer tested along with their mechanical and chemical properties.905 1. 22.1. Specifically. Through analysis of each of these properties.7 .5 . This again means that there can be many different types of polystyrene. varying with n. Due to this.3.39 265. Polystyrene is a very common plastic. flame color.0 35. it is very commonly used for pipes.0.7 Polypropylene (C3H6)n 0. and melting characteristics at 140°C and 220°C. density. Polystyrenes monomer is (C8H8)n.77 40.1(HD) 31. a few key properties were looked at in order to help determine which polymer the small plastic piece was made out of.8 40.5(LD). construction materials.172 .4(LD). where is an integer.7 .1 62. tumblers. . poly(vinyl-chloride).0 .556 62.28.1: Mechanical and Chemical Properties of Select Polymers Density(g/cm^3) Youngs Modulus(Gpa) Melting Point(°C) Yield Strength(Mpa) Tensile Strength (Mpa) 0. the team was able to determine what polymer the small plastic piece was constructed out of.28 240 25.
Oven Test (140°C) 5. Oven Test (220°C) Step 1 was the visual inspection. Some of the key visual properties that were recorded were color. as well as what color the smoke emitted was. pebble like sample and looked at it closely with the naked eye. the team members obtained a small. Visual Inspection 2. and shape. the polymer was recorded as having a lower density then water. clarity. Water was assumed to have a density of 1 g/cm^3 during this experiment. The team members recorded what color the flame turned. followed by an in depth explanation of each process: 1.1 below. The only piece of equipment used in this step was a wax candle. If the sample floated. To perform the density test. the team members obtained a sample of each polymer and placed the sample into a beaker of water. To perform the visual inspection. shown in Figure 1. whether or not the sample melted. Step 3 was the flame test. The process is listed below. This was done using a very methodical process. If the sample sank to the bottom. the team members obtained a sample of each polymer and held them to an open flame. Flame Test 4. Step 2 was the density test. the polymer was recorded as having a higher density then water. determine their key properties that were described above.Experimental Methods The main goal of this experiment was to test each of the polymers. shown in Figure . Density Test 3. and ultimately decide which polymer the small plastic piece is constructed out of. To perform the flame test. The only piece of equipment used in this step was a beaker of water.
2: Wax Candle . The pieces of equipment used for these steps were two ovens. One of each sample were placed in the first oven and the second oven.3: Lab Oven Figure 1.3. To perform the oven tests. Figure 1. heated to 140°C and 220°C. the samples were removed from the ovens and observed. Step 4 and Step 5 were the oven tests.2.1.1: Beaker of water Figure 1. shown in Figure 1. After about 20 minutes. two samples of each polymer were obtained. The team members visually inspected the heated samples and recorded how much each of them melted. respectively.
Cloudy. and polystyrene. This matches up with polyethylene and polypropylene. the unknown polymer was the most similar to polyethylene. it appears that polyethylene and polypropylene provided similar results. Cloudy.Results and Discussion By following the procedure described above.2 below: Table 1. the lab team members were able to obtain these results. the unknown polymer and polypropylene both had a blue/orange flame. By using this table. it is easy to compare the properties of the unknown polymer with the rest of the polymers. Both of the oven tests were very ambiguous. Melts. it is necessary to analyze each tests result step by step and compare the results with the results of the known polymers. In order to determine the unknown material. Opaque Greater Than H20 Polycarbonate Transparent Greater Than H20 Black Smoke. Black Smoke Not Melted Slightly Melted Using basic laboratory equipment. The results can be viewed in Table 1. They all had opaque visual characteristics.2: Experimental Results Test Visual Test Density Polyethylene Opaque. Next up is the density test. Blue/Orange Flame Not Melted Melted Polystyrene Spherical. The unknown polymers density was less than H20. Turns Black Melted Very Slightly Slightly Melted Flame Test Oven 140°C Oven 220°C Orange Flame. This test was very useful because of how much it narrows down our choices. Blue Flame Slightly Melted Melted Polypropylene Slightly Cloudy. Turns Black. polypropylene. When comparing all of the different polymers. however. . Black Smoke Not Melted Yellow/Clear/Slightly Melted Orange Flame. First up is the visual test. Yellow Flame Not Melted Not Melted Poly(vinyl-chloride) Cloudy Greater Than H20 Unknown Polymer Opaque Less Than H20 Black Smoke. SemiRound Less Than H20 Black Smoke. Turns Brown then Black. The next test was the Flame test. Opaque Less Than H20 Black Smoke. When comparing the unknown polymer with the rest of the polymers. even further narrowing down the results. the following results can be obtained. Blue/Orange Flame.
the team looked at the matching polymers and observed which is the most commonly similar with the unknown polymer. The polymers that had characteristics matching those of the unknown polymer were recorded.4: Figure 1.4: Tree Diagram of Results and Conclusion In order to come to the conclusion that polypropylene was the polymer used to construct the small plastic part the lab team took a very methodical approach while reviewing the results. the . Then. a tree diagram and an in depth explanation is provided below in Figure 1.Conclusion In order to help understand the process that was used to determine the unknown polymer. First. As the tree diagram shows. the team compared each of the five polymers characteristics with the characteristics of the unknown polymer.
Polypropylene was the only polymer that had the same characteristic blue/orange flame that the unknown polymer had. In conclusion. The polypropylene also had matching density and melting characteristics. the unknown polymer that the small plastic piece was constructed out of is polypropylene. It should be noted that the visual test was not taken into heavy consideration due to the large amount of ambiguity present with this test. .unknown polymer must be polypropylene.
K Polymers . (4th Edition ed. (n.d.). Retrieved April 11.com/polymers-use. from www. J. D.buzzle. W. .Fundamentals of materials science and engineering. & Rethwisch. D.asp Polypropylene Properties and Uses. John Wiley & Sons Inc.d. (n.). Buzzle.Engineering and Commodity Plastic Resins Supplier. from http://www..kpolymers.com/articles/polypropylene-properties-and-uses. (2012).References The Uses of Polymers and Plastics offered by K Polymers.html Callister. 2013. Retrieved April 11.). G. 2013.
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