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Introduction - polymers - polymerisation - types of polymers - uses
- plastics - types of plastics - uses - recycling of plastics - cement
- manufacture of cement - setting and curing of cement - glass
preparation - properties of glass - types of glass and uses - ceramics
- porcelain - preparation and uses.
You have studied in your previous classes, about elements compounds and
how the compounds are formed. Let us recall some of them.
! Compounds contain elements, combined together in definite propotions.
! The type of chemical change in which two or more elements combine
together to form a compound is called chemical combination.
! Simple compounds form compounds of higher molecular mass through
chemical reactions.
! Glucose, starch, cellulose and proteins are some of the examples of
naturally occuring compounds.
! Water, amonia, carbondioxide, methane, ethene and benzene are some
of the examples of simple molecules.
! Silica, limestone, washing soda, clay are some of the useful raw materials
available in nature.
From ancient times, man has been using many naturally available
substances for various purposes. Cotton, silk and jute are some of the materials
used to prepare fibres and clothes. Shikakai is used for cleaning. There is a
long list of products like gum, resin, dyes, wood and many more which are
very useful to us. In ancient days all needs of human beings were fulfilled
by naturally available substances. Catering to the needs has become difficult
due to increase in population, limited availability of natural materials and long
duration required for their production. Hence there is a great demand for
alternatives to natural materials. Materials not available in nature but produced
by using naturally available raw materials, are called synthetic materials.
Nowadays we come across many synthetic materials such as plastics, cement,
glass, fibres, ceramics. Let us study some of these synthetic materials in this
Make a list of natural and synthetic materials that you come across in your daily life.
Polythene, nylon and terylene are some of the materials that are commonly
used in our daily life. These synthetic materials are called polymers. (The words
‘poly’ means many and ‘meros’ means parts) They are prepared by using some
naturally available materials. Do you know how polythene is made? A number
of ethene molecules chemically combine together to form a giant molecule.
= CH
) →
Compounds which are formed by the union of a very large number of
molecules of a simple compound or simple compounds united in a repetitious
manner are called polymers.
The simple compounds which build up the polymer molecule are called
Polymerisation : The process in which two or more molecules of a simple
compound unite together to form a new compound is called polymerisation.
Types of polymers : All polymers are not synthetic; some are found in
nature. Proteins, carbohydrates, fats and nucleicacids are some of the natural
polymers. They are the essential components of our food. The polymers which
are available in nature are natural polymers. Some of the commonly used
polymers such as nylon, terylene are not found in nature; they are synthesised.
They are synthetic polymers.
Synthetic polymers are classified into 1) addition polymers and (2)
condensation polymers.
Addition polymerisation is a process in which several molecules join
together to form a giant molecule during the reaction. There is no elimination
of molecules. They are prepared from unsaturated monomers. Eg. Polythene
and polyvinyl chloride (pvc).
Polymers obtained by the condensation reaction between monomers are
called condensation polymers. The polymerisation in which several monomers
form a polymer with the elimination of some simple molecules during the reaction
is called condensation polymerisation.
The condensation involves elimination of molecules like water, methanol
etc. Leading to linking of polymers. Nylon and terylene are condensation
Some important polymers, their uses and the monomers from which they are
formed, are listed below:
Monomers Polymers Uses
1. Ethene Polythene Bags, films
2. Carbolactom Nylon Fibres, brushes, ropes
3. Esters Polyesters Synthetic fibres
4. Vinyl chloride Poly Vinyl Chloride PVC tubes
5. Tetrafluroethene Teflon Parts of electrical
devices, coating vessels,
(Teflon coating)
6. Chloroprene Neoprene Nearest to natural rubber,
household and medical
8. Ethylene chloride Thiokol Gaskets, seals,
+ sodium polyhifide hard rubber articles.
Plastics are polymers which possess plasticity at some processing stage.
The word plastic is very popular. A number of articles made up of plastic are
widely used in our daily life. Plastic materials are strong and more durable.
They are less corrosive and do not react with the atmospheric air. Plastics can
be shaped easily. All these properties of plastic has made it very popular. That
is why plastics have replaced glass, wood, metal, rubber, leather etc.
A plastic is a synthetic material manufactured by the polymerisation of
organic substences which can be moulded in to desired shape when hot.
Plastics are of two types (1) Thermo plastics (2) Thermosetting plastics.
Collect the materials like nylon, polyester, polythene, PVC. Heat these materials carefully
on a spatula. Allow them to cool down. Observe the changes and note them.
Certain plastics soften on heating and harden on cooling. They can be
moulded and re-moulded easily by heating. Plastics which lose their shape on
heating are called thermoplastics. Polyvinyl cloride, Polystyrene are examples
for thermo plastics.
Plastics which set on heating and become irreversibly hard on cooling,
are known as thermosetting plastics. Eg : Bakelite, silicones, epoxy-resins.
Uses : polymers popularly termed as plastics, are
substitutes to many structured materials like glass,
wood, rubber, metal, clay, leather and so on. These
are cost effective and have better quality compared
to their natural substitutes. They are more popular
because their properties can be manipulated easily
to suit the requirements.
Recycling of plastics : Plastic is not decomposed by microorganisms. It is not
biodegradable. Plastic waste causes pollution. It is very difficult to dispose them
off. The polution due to plastic waste can be prevented to some extent by
recycling. Recycling is the process of using the material again by reprocessing.
Steps involved in re-cycling are :
1. Collection of waste plastic materials.
2. Separating thermosetting and thermoplastic materials.
3. Softening of thermoplastics.
4. Upgrading the quality by refining.
5. Re-moulding.
Find out by yourself
Bakelite is used as a part of
electric devices and vessels.
1. Slurry tank
2. Vapourising zone
3. Rotary kiln
4. Combustion zone
5. Hot air
6. Clinker collector
Fig 18.1
What are the benefits of re-cycling? Prepare a list of materials which can be recycled
for our use.
Cement is an important synthetic material.
It is the chief component of building materials.
Chemically, cement is a mixture of calcium
silicate and calcium aluminate, with small amount
of gypsum salt.
The essential raw materials used in the manufacture of cement are clay
and lime stone. Gypsum (calcium sulphate) is used to regulate setting rate.
Manufacture of cement : Finely powdered ground clay and limestone are mixed
with water. This homogeneous mixture is called slurry. It is introduced into a
rotary kiln (Fig 18.1). Hot air at about 1873K is blown from the lower end of
the rotary kiln. Due to high temperature the water present in the slurry evaporates.
At this temperature clay and lime stone combine chemically to form cement balls.
The cement balls so formed are called clinkers. Clinkers are taken out
of the kiln and cooled. Clinkers are then finely powdered by grinding and mixed
with 3% gypsum. Gypsum slows down the rapid setting of cement.
Setting and curing : Cement sets into a hard mass when mixed with water.
Therefore it makes an excellent binding material in construction work. The mixture
of sand and cement along with water undergoes many complex changes. The
first stage of setting takes place within 24 hours after adding water to the cement.
The second stage of setting requires about two weeks.
Cement resembles a type of
lime stone available in port
land. J. Aspadin gave the name
port land cement in 1824.
The subsequent setting of cement is achieved
by adding water. The method of hardening cement
by treating it with water is known as curing. During
curing cement absorbs water. Calcium silicate and
aluminates of cement are converted into a colloidal
gel. This process is exothermic; hence it requires
continuous water treatment.
18.4 GLASS
Glass is one of the oldest synthetic
substances being used. Due to its transparent
and non-corrosive property, glass is widely
used in various fields. Chemically, glass is
a homogenous mixture of sodium silicate and
calcium silicate (Na
, CaSiO
, 4SiO
Manufacture of Glass : Sand, limestone and
sodium carbonate are the raw materials
required for the preparation of glass. Scrap
glass is also used along with other raw
materials. Hence re-cycling of glass is also
A finely powdered mixture of raw
materials is introduced into a furnace
maintaind at a temperature of about 1973K.
Raw materials fuse and combine chemically
to form a mixture of calcium silicate and
sodium silicate.
+ SiO

+ CO
+ SiO

+ CO
The molten glass is cast in the mould
or blown into various shapes and cooled
slowly. On slow cooling, glass gains the
capacity to withstand stress and loses
brittleness. The process of slow cooling glass
is known as annealing.
Cement concrete
The mixture of cement, gravel
and sand in the ratio of 1:2:4 or
1:3:6 is known as concrete. An
iron skeleton inside concrete
gives mechanical strength to the
Even though gl ass i s a
transparent material, all the raw
materials used are opaque in
Do you know?
Glass articles are prepared by
blowing method. A small amount
of glass is fixed to the end of a
long blowing pipe and heated.
A small bulb is formed when air
is blown from the other end. By
rotating the pipe, the required
shape is given to the glass. The
glass bulb is kept in a mould and
bl own agai n to acqui re the
required shape.
Note this
To remove the air bubbles in
gl ass, borax or al umi ni um
powder is added to the glass
and heated sl owl y. The ai r
bubbles escape from the glass
in this process.
Properties of glass : Glass is a strong and transparent material. It is corrosion
resistant. It does not react with other chemicals at ordinary temperature. It
gradually softens on heating, and begins to flow very slowly.
The following table gives the different types of glass, their properties and
Sl. Type Special Property Use
No. additives
1. Soda Glass Aluminium Fuses easily at Window panels,
oxide relatively low bottles, tumblers
2. Borosilicate Boron Withstands high Laboratory
glass temperature equipments.
3. Lead glass Lead oxide, Highly transparent; Lenses, prisms,
potassium high refractive window panels
carbonate index; absorbs of nuclear
radiations installations.
4. Coloured Metal oxide Choice of metallic Window panels,
glass oxide is decided decorative
by the colour to materials
be imparted
5. Safety glass Synthetic Withstands high Windshields of
plastic is stress. Sharp automobiles,
sandwitched edges are not bullet-proof glass
between two formed when it
thin glass breaks (it is
sheets splinter-proof)
6. Fibre glass Molten glass Light, strong Fire-proof curtain
is drawn into and fire-proof dresses, manu-
thin fibres facture of parts
and sheets of automobiles
Terracotta is a kind of porous
pottery. Terra means earth and
cotta means baked. Articles of
terracotta are used as ornamental
building materials.
Clay materials, such as chinaware, porcelain and bricks, are collectively
known as ceramics. All these are being traditionally manufactured and used
for over several centuries. The word ceramic is derived from a Greek word
ceremos which means earthern pot.
Preparation of porcelain : The raw
materials required for the preparation
of porcelain are white clay, sand and
feldspar. [Feldspar, K
O Al
Finely powdered mixture of raw materials are mixed with water. The
homogeneous mixture is called slip. Slip is pressed with filter paper to remove
excess water. Then the slip is moulded into desired shapes and dried. The
dried articles are heated in a furnace at about 1873K.
The fired articles are porous. These pores are plugged by glazing. Glazing
imparts an attractive look. Chemicals like boron, allumina and smoth silica
insoluble sulphates are used for glazing. Glazed articles are fired again to ensure
the uniform spreading of coat. Pre-determined quantity of metal oxides are
added while glazing, which gives desired colour to the porcelain.
Uses of porcelain : Porcelain is widely used in
the preparation of household articles. It is also
used to prepare decorative materials. It is used
as insulating parts of electric devices. Porcelain
is used in the manufacture of sanitary items and
laboratory equipments.
1. What are monomers?
2. What are polymers? Give examples.
3. What is polymerisation?
4. Write the difference between addition polymers and condensation polymers.
5. Give examples for different types of polymers and write their uses.
6. What are plastics?
Clay is the mixture containing aluminium
silicate in high quantities. It is formed by
the weathering of silicate rocks by the
action of air, rain and carbondioxide
7. What are the two types of plastics? Write one important difference between
8. Why is recycling of plastic essential?
9. What are the raw materials used in the manufacture of cement?
10. Explain the manufacture of cement with a neat, labelled diagram.
11. Why is gypsum added to cement?
12. Write the names of raw materials used in the preparation of glass.
13. Explain the process of preparation of glass.
14. Write the properties of glass.
15. Write the type of glass used in the following; and mention the characteristic
property used in each case.
a) Manufacture of laboratory apparatus.
b) Lens preparation
c) Windshields of vehicles.
16. Describe the preparation of porcelain
17. What is the advantage of glazing porcelain surface?
18. Mention the uses of porcelain.