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Chemistry 6 - Organic Chemistry > Dealing with Polymer Waste > Flashcards

Flashcards in Dealing with Polymer Waste Deck (26)
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why have we become more reliant on polymers in terms of how theyre produced

- they can be manufactured on a large scale
- they can have a variety of complex shapes and physical properties


what is an advantage of using polymers rather than the traditional materials we used to use in terms of their properties

they are lighter in weight than traditional alternatives


why is it better to have polymers rather than wood or metal for long periods of time

- they are unreactive
- so they can be used to contain substances safely for long periods
- whereas metal corrodes and wood rots


what is the main reason why polymers have become such a widely used material

they are relatively cheap to mass produce and therefore buy


why has the dumping of polymers in landfill reduced over the years recently

- there is limited space in landfill sites since they have been used for so long
- there are also rules in place to decrease the use of landfill


how has the general public contributed to the reduced amount of polymers entering landfill

- there are designated wheelie bins where you can put plastics in to be recycled
- more people go to their local recycling centre


what is the first and easiest step to reducing the problem of polymer waste

not using them unecessarily


what is an example of how the unecessary use of polymers has been decreased

- supermarkets discouraging the use of free plastic bags by placing a price on them
- and encouraging the use of bags for life that can be used many times


what is the second main method that is used to reduce polymer waste

not to throw it away but to put it to other uses


what are the three ways that you can put polymers to other uses

- recycling
- incineration
- using as a chemical feedstock


what does recycling simply mean in terms of polymers

converting into other materials


what is the first step to the process of recycling and why is it important

- sorting
- its important because there are many types of polymer in use
- so mixtures of these types cannot be effectively processed together


what is a drawback that comes with sorting and how has this been alleviated

- it is done by hand
- which is tedious and inefficient
- but polymers used to make most plastics can be identified by a code which helps the sorting process


what is the second stage in recycling and what does it involve

- processing
- which involves chopping the waste into small pieces and washing it


what is done to the polymers after they have been processed

- they are used to make new materials
- through methods like melting, moulding and fibre production


what elements are most present in polymers and why

- carbon and hydrogen
- because they are made from monomers that are usually hydrocarbons


why could you use polymers in an incinerator

- because hydrocarbons usually make good fuel
- and as polymers are made up of them so can they


what does an incinerator do

- takes in polymer waste and converts it to heat energy
- which can be used to heat homes, factories or generate electricity


why is there very little solid waste left after incineration

- because most of the atoms in the polymer end up in gaseous products
- which pass into the atmosphere through a chimney


what is a disadvantage that comes with incineration

it causes are pollution


why is incineration especially a big contributor to it

- as well as hydrogen and carbon there are other elements in polymer waste
- such as chlorine or toxic heavy metals from pigments used for colouring
- these pollutants are difficult to remove from the gas released


how are polymers used as chemical feedstock

- the polymer waste is broken down into gases (H2 and CO)
- this produces feedstock that can be used in other chemical reactions, often to make new polymers


why are polymers in landfill even a concern in the first place

- because they dont break down
- so they just take up space or harm the environment around them


what are biodegradable polymers and where are they used

- polymers that can be broken down by microbes in the environment
- they are used in stitches and in drug delivery


what are the disadvantages of biopolymers

- they are often made with plant material, so land is needed to grow them in the first place
- as they break down in the environment, the H or C atoms cant be directly used
- no recycling, incineration of use as chemical feedstock is possible


why are life cycle analysis' of polymers carried out

- to make decisions about the management of polymer waste
- to reduce the long term impact on the environment
- to compare different polymer uses