Thursday, 13 January 2011

The Importance of Plastics

Plastics are an especially important group of materials because of their fundamental role in creating the world as we know it. The story of design in plastics is the story of the industrial and social development of the 20th and 21st century environment. None of the advances in domestic, industrial, commercial of technological design could have been achieved without the properties of plastics¹. Applications have encompassed such different entities as cinematic film, insulation for radar cables in WW2, drip-dry shirts, Concorde’s distinctive nose cone, contact lenses, and so-called ‘rubber’ washing-up gloves. Moreover, since the 1970s plastics have been the material group with the most uses in the world².

Susan Lambert (Museum Head)

¹Lyungberg LY (2007) Materials selection and design for development of sustainable products, Materials and Design, 28 (2), 466-479.
²Cascini G and Rissone P (2004) Plastics design: integrating TRIZ creativity and semantic knowledge portals, Journal of Engineering Design, 15 (4), 405-424.

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