Polymers are at the basis of important industrial goods. Their rapid growth in production is caused, beside social factors, by the necessity to replace classical materials.
Many examples of synthetic polymers can be mentioned; some every day, like polyesters or nylons, others less known, like the ones used for medical applications for organs, degradable sutures, etc.
Polymers initially tended to be viewed as a chemist specialty, but they are now strongly associated as plastics, fibers and elastomers with engineering as well, through design, fabrication and testing of products.
On the basis of economic and application considerations plastic materials can be divided in commodity (characterized by high volume and low cost) and engineering plastics (higher cost and low volume). In the first group are considered polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and poly (vinyl chloride) (PVC), etc. Fibers, natural, artificial (modified natural) and synthetic, are characterized by high aspect ratio, high strength and modulus and other properties depending on their applications.
The last decades have shown an increasing important requirement in the polymer industry; it is the rapid development and introduction of new and improved products. In the growth of this family of engineering materials during the last century, plastics are the leader, followed by fibers and elastomers.
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
Low Linear Density Polyethylene (LLDPE)
General Purpose Polystyrene (GPPS)
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)
High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS)