4 Surprising Ways Plastic Protects Us

October 13, 2017

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In all likelihood, unless you’re in some of the furthest reaches of the wilderness, you’re never too far from a plastic product. It’s common knowledge about how pervasive it is nowadays (here at Excelsior, our favoured method of creating plastic products is via our very own roto moulding process), but what you might not know is just how much of a role plastic plays in protecting us, whether we’re tourists, commuters or emergency services. This blog looks at a few of the more interesting ways plastics are used today to protect us – some of them might surprise you!

Plastic Protects Our Sight

Goggles and sunglasses are two items that heavily use plastic in their construction – more, in fact, than a lot of people give them credit for. While it’s common knowledge that the frames of sunglasses and goggles are obviously plastic, people can sometimes forget that plastic features heavily in the makeup of the lenses, too. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it – after all, nobody wants breakable shards of glass too close to their eyeballs when cycling, swimming or skiing. Instead, specially formulated shatter-resistant plastics are used. Not only are these tougher against impacts, but they also grant extra perks like glare reduction and UV protection, so we can enjoy sports and sun-lounging alike without having to be too wary about sun exposure, or what happens when we hit our faces on something. (Well, no more than we normally are, anyway.)

Motorcycle Leathers…Aren’t All Leather

If you’ve ever seen a biker whizz between lanes of traffic, you’ll already have an inkling of why they wear all those layers of leather. It does more than just keep them warm – if a biker crashes, they often crash at some speed, so the leather basically acts as armour against the friction they experience skidding along the tarmac. Except these days, it’s not just leather – a biker’s armour is also made with high-performance plastics within the layers and layers of leather. These plastics also act to take the edge off the brunt of the impacts, helping keep bikers just that bit safer if the worst should happen.

Firefighters Use Plastics In Their Gear

You might not think that plastics should play that big of a part in firefighting – after all, doesn’t plastic melt in high temperatures? Well, yes, but only certain types. Like motorbikers, firefighters have specialised plastics woven into their gear. These flame-resistant fibres can withstand extreme temperatures, protecting firefighters from harmful chemicals and smoke (the latter of which is at least as deadly as the actual fire, if not more).

Plastics Help Us Make One Small Step For Man

That’s right – plastic is used in spacesuits, too! Spacesuits are made up of layers and layers of specialised plastic that make them tough enough to withstand the harshest environment currently known to man. As well as massive hot and cold temperature swings that can kill easily, astronauts are occasionally dosed in radiation for good measure. Plastic, while being strong and flexible, is hardy enough to minimise this radiation, protecting the men and women who do some of the most exciting and dangerous work on the face of the…well, ever!

Of course, this is all much different to the types of plastics you’d get at home – even industrial plastics take a lot of tweaking before they’re ready for the kind of uses we’ve described in this article. But hopefully it gives you some idea of the kinds of hugely diverse roles that plastic is still playing in our world today.

If you’ve got a plastic product manufacturing idea, here at Excelsior we’d be happy to help you make it a reality using our rotational moulding services. You can click here to fill out our contact form.

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