Chemical of the Week 2 -ABS

   

Ok, well spotted this is ‘chemicals of the week’ rather than ‘chemical’. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) (chemical formula (C8H8)x· (C4H6)y·(C3H3N)z) is a common thermoplastic polymer with a glass transition temperature of approximately 105 °C . 

  

  

 It is a terpolymer made by the addition polymerisation of styrene and acrylonitrile in the presence of polybutadiene. The proportions can vary from 15 to 35% acrylonitrile, 5 to 30% butadiene and 40 to 60% styrene. Polymerisation is process of adding small molecules together to make very large molecules called polymers ( Addition polymerisation is covered at GCSE and condensation polymerisation at A2) . 

So what’s so exciting about ABS. Since 1963, Lego pieces have been manufactured from this strong, resilient plastic. Amazingly the LEGO group says it has manufactured 400 billion blocks made from this material but that’s about to change. The starting materials for this plastic are all derived from crude oil and LEGO have recently announced that they are beginning a process to find a renewable replacement. Now this is the fun bit for all you young chemists out there, LEGO plans to hire over 100 scientists to work on this project which aims for completion in 2030. Now if that’s not going to spur you on to a Materials science degree I don’t know what will !
http://cen.acs.org/articles/93/i26/Lego-Replace-Oil-Based-Plastics.html

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s