The way plastic is made has evolved and improved over the past two centuries, to become the plastics we know today -- water bottles, toys, packaging and household products. In the early 1800s a plasticlike material was made from the horns of animals, tree sap and insect extractions. By the late 1800s man-made plastic was being made with cellulose nitrate and camphor and called Celluloid, which was used to make items such as eyeglass frames, combs, buttons, billiard balls and dentures. Today, plastic is made with polypropylene and polyethylene to produce thousands of products that people all over the world use daily.
Earthenware -- thought to be the first man-made material -- was created about 26,000 years ago and is still made today all over the world. Thousands of years would pass before the man-made textures that we rely on today were invented. Once we created plastics, concrete and other textures, these materials proliferated. Buildings, clothes, food containers and even gardening mulch are some of the many man-made textures that surround on a daily basis.
Though most people know it as "Styrofoam," the cushy white man-made material is actually extruded polystyrene. The term Styrofoam is a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical corporation, and the product is typically blue in color and used to insulate homes. The version of Styrofoam that most people are familiar with is expandable polystyrene and is most commonly used for disposable cups, plates, to-go containers and packing materials.
Fiberglass is a man-made texture that is found in wide varieties of sporting goods and automobiles, as well as in home construction sites. Fiberglass is made by melting sand until it becomes a very light and fine fiber material. These fibers in their rawest form are used to make home insulation and furnace filters. The fibers can also be assembled into a fabric and resonated to create a lightweight but incredibly sturdy and puncture-resistant material that many bicycles, kayaks, skateboards and high-performance car parts are made of.
Concrete is used for all types of construction purposes including building foundations, streets, sidewalks and driveways. Though derived of natural ingredients, concrete is a man made material produced by creating a chemical reaction between cement -- a powdered mineral substance -- and water. When cement and water combine, they form a thick gluelike substance that binds permanently with whatever it comes in contact with. When you add crushed and granulated rocks and sand to cement and water, hard blocks of concrete are produced.
- Webitecht: 50 Textures of Man-Made Origin
- Foam Equipment + Consulting Co; What Is Styrofoam?; Phil Plotts; february 2010
- Fiberglass Windows; How Is Fiberglass Made?; Russell Hayada
- Naocem: Cement and Concrete
- Reach Out Michigan: How Are Plastics Made?
- Modern ceramic engineering: properties, processing, and use in design By David W. Richerson
- Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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