Summary of La historia del plástico

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The history of plastic is a story of both potential and danger. In the early days of its invention, plastic was seen as a miracle material that could solve any problem. However, over time, it has become clear that plastic is not as perfect as it seemed at first. It is made of many different materials, some of which are not environmentally friendly. Additionally, recycling plastic is difficult because it degrades after being recycled just once. Despite these problems, plastic continues to evolve, with new sustainable materials being developed.

  • 00:00:00 The word "plastic" comes from the Greek word "plástico", which means "to mold or give form." The need to mold and improve materials from nature has been around as long as man. Bronze, a mixture of metal and a synthetic material, which can be molded by heat, was one of the first plastics. However, the industrial revolution of the 19th century led to the creation of plastic materials and created a huge demand for them. In the 19th century, people wanted to develop artificial ivory, which was in danger of extinction due to hunting. Alexander Park, an English inventor, discovered a type of plastic similar to ivory that he called "parque sin a" (Park's sin). He won a bronze medal at the London International Exhibition of 1862 for his discovery. Park also discovered the potential of this new material and founded the foundations for the new plastics industry. He used his extensive knowledge of mechanics to design and build machines necessary for manufacturing and molding plastic. Celuloid, made mainly of cellulose and nitric acid, was one of the first products of this new industry. Another important product made from celuloid was the corset. Sewn from balls of celluloid, these in
  • 00:05:00 In 1872, the German chemist Adolfo von Baeyer discovered that a mixture of phenol and formaldehyde could form a gas, and then he called it "flammable gas." He and others soon realized that this gas had many uses, including in the creation of plastic materials. In 1907, Leo Baekeland created a new category of plastic, called "baquelita," which was made from the reaction of phenol and formaldehyde. Baquelita was popular during the 1930s, when it made up 85% of women's clothing. However, the material had a disadvantage: it tended to deform and eventually disappear. In 1927, the company Dupont started researching a new type of fabric, Fibre 66, which was made from a new type of plastic called "rayon." The project was led by Wallace Carothers, a Harvard scientist hired for purely commercial purposes. He verified and drew the structures of the plastic molecules, which led to the development of modern plastic materials. The first plastic products were made from cellulose treated with chemicals, and they were called "rayons." In 1938, the French company Dupont developed a new type of synthetic fiber, called nylon. This material was very strong and flexible, and it became
  • 00:10:00 DuPont developed nylon in the early 1940s, and in just one day, all stock of nylon products had been sold out. The product was a huge success and remains popular to this day. In World War II, nylon was crucial for airplane fabric and became popularly known as "the miracle fiber." The use of nylon in the war helped to create a large surplus, which benefited the industry greatly afterwards. In the late 1940s, when the war ended and supplies of natural resources became scarce, the industry had to duplicate and improve on nylon's natural qualities. The development of polymers made nylon a more versatile and robust material than ever before. In the 1950s, when aircraft became more sophisticated, nylon was used as an electrical insulation material in high-voltage equipment. Another less well-known contribution of nylon during the war was its use as a coating on cooking pots and pans. In 1944, scientists discovered that nylon had unique molecular properties that made it a good candidate for electrical insulation. This led to the development of new plastics, which would become a major industry in the postwar years.
  • 00:15:00 Plastics were invented in the early 20th century, and during World War II, their production increased due to the need for products such as food containers and weapons. One of the most popular products during this time was the Tupperware container, which became a part of everyday life. In the 1950s, plastics became more widespread and were used to make products such as cars and televisions. By the end of the 20th century, plastics had revolutionized the way we use and think about everyday objects.
  • 00:20:00 In 1964, Westinghouse launched the first time capsule made of plastic. The number of plastic objects created annually has steadily increased over the years, and in 1969, Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrapped two kilometers of Australian coastline with 93 million square meters of synthetic fabric. However, public opinion of plastic had changed drastically by the time the "youth revolution" of the 1960s had ended. After decades of accepting it without question, plastic became the target of criticism and controversy, filling landfills and polluting waterways. The industry of plastic defended itself by arguing that plastic is environmentally friendly because it requires less energy to produce than traditional materials. However, many plastic products are not yet recyclable, and recycling is limited due to the fact that many plastics degrade after being recycled just once. Despite these problems, plastic continues to evolve. New plastics made from sustainable materials, such as plants and corn, are becoming more affordable and resistant to environmental degradation.
  • 00:25:00 The history of plastic is a tale of both promise and peril. In the beginning, it was seen as a future-proof solution for any problem, but over time it has lost some of its appeal and its promise. Plastic is made of many different materials, some of which were supposedly futuristic and could solve any problem. However, in practice, plastic has proved to be a big break with the past and a new era in which humans can manipulate and design molecules to create new materials. It's also very real in terms of reinventing nature.

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