Polypropylene

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What is Polypropylene Material?

As the name itself indicates, Polypropylene is the polymer of propylene. The chemical formula of this polymer is (C3H6)n. As it is made up of only carbon and hydrogen, It is a nonpolar polymer. Polymers are formed by the addition of repeated units. A single unit is called a monomer. So, basically, polymers are made up of monomers. There are different types of polymers depending upon the mode of formation, physical and chemical properties. On the basis of the mode of formation, Polypropylene is an additional polymer. It means it is formed by the simple addition of propylene units. 


Structure of Polypropylene

Polypropylene is a linear polymer made by the addition of propylene monomers. The chemical formula of this polymer is (C3H6)n. Polypropylene density varies from 0.895 to 0.92 g/cm3. The structure of polypropylene is shown below:

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There are three different types of polypropylene depending upon the position of alkyl groups and H atoms. These types are- Atactic, Isotactic and syndiotactic.

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Properties of Polypropylene

So far, we have learnt what is polypropylene and its chemical formula. Now, we will discuss the physical and chemical properties of polypropylene. It is white in colour and solid in nature. Polypropylene density is 0.89-0.92 g/cm3. Its chemical properties include

  • High resistance towards high temperature and pressure.

  • Resistance to heat. It has similar properties to polyethylene. However, its resistance is higher than polyethylene. That is why it is used in the manufacture of bottles, buckets, and bags.

  • High flexibility and toughness (these properties enhance further when copolymerized with ethene)

  • Cannot be affected easily by organic solvents and weak oxidizing agents.

  • When it is heated up to 373K, It softens and melts down. This can be moulded into any desirable shape. So, It is known as a thermoplastic polymer. 

  • Crystalline in nature to some extent. Crystalline nature is somewhat similar to high-density polyethene.

  • Degradation occurs when heated above 373K. 

Depending upon physical and chemical properties, different varieties of polypropylene materials are available. One must thus know what is polypropylene plastic and what is polypropylene fabrics. Polypropylene fabrics is a kind of textile product that is used in the manufacture of sheets, packaging materials and boxes. While polypropylene plastic is a hard, crystalline thermoplastic polymer used in making pipes, batteries and medical appliances.


Applications of Polypropylene

There are numerous applications or uses of polypropylene.  Polypropylene material is widely used in industries because of its properties. A few of them are listed below:

  • It is used in the manufacture of bottles, buckets and tough plastic material. It is due to its high resistance towards heat and temperature.

  • Due to its toughness and rigidity properties, polypropylene is used in plastic piping systems. It has various advantages like it is corrosion free, cheaper and has high rigidity. Polypropylene plastic is used for this purpose.

  • Polypropylene fabric is used in packaging materials, sheets and boxes.

  • Polypropylene fabrics are used in drywall joints also.

  • Polypropylene fabrics are used in making ropes. Ropes made of polypropylene are light in weight and of high strength. Strength is comparable to the ropes made up of polyesters.

  • It is used in the manufacture of household products like mugs, plastic cups, carpets, bags, water pipes, etc.

  • Polypropylene plastic is used in the manufacture of medical appliances and batteries.


Conclusion

Here, we learned about polypropylene, structure, physical and chemical properties of polypropylene, applications and use of the polypropylene material. It is an additional thermoplastic material. Due to its rigidness and flexibility, it is used in the preparation of household materials. Though it is very beneficial for us, it is non-degradable in nature. It causes harm to the environment. Alternate materials are needed to be discovered to minimise the use of plastic materials.


Did You Know?

Isotactic polypropylene was discovered in 1954 by Giulio Natta and his co-worker Paolo Chini in association with a Montecatini company. Natta was awarded the Nobel Prize along with Ziegler for his discovery of a well-known catalyst for the synthesis of polyethylene.


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the use of polypropylene material?

It is the most commonly used thermoplastic material used in the world. It is due to its toughness and high resistance properties. Polypropylene plastic is used in the manufacture of bags, pipes, buckets, mugs, medical appliances, battery devices, etc. Polypropylene fabric is used in the making of packaging materials, sheets and boxes.

2. Is propylene the same as plastic?

Polymers are made up of monomer units. Polypropylene and polyethylene are forms of plastic, both are made up of alkyl groups and hydrogens. These are non-polar and crystalline in nature. Their properties are comparable. But polypropylene exhibits high resistance and toughness as compared to polyethylene.