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The clear plastic that bottled water and soda are usually packaged in. It is often abbreviated PETE or PET Mylar and Dacron are trade names for products made with this material.

Synthesis

It can be produced by reacting terepthalic acid or dimethyl terepthalate with excess ethylene glycol, then distilling off the excess ethylene glycol as the reaction progresses.

Applications
  • Plastic Bottles
  • Plastic film packaging material
  • Mylar Baloons
  • Dacron Fabric
Concerns

Most bottled water has a strong plastic odor and plastic smell, especially if it is warm. This indicates that there are at least trace amounts of the plastic or the starting materials for the plastic in the water.

PET aka Polyethylene Terephthalate aka Polyester aka Mylar is a hydrocarbon based artificial plastic and a member of the Polyester family developed by American chemist Wallace Carothers at Du Pont during the 1920s and 1930s. Post-War improvements were made by British scientists Jon Whinfield and J. T. Dickson.

According to the US Federal Trade Commission is "at least 85% by weight of an ester of a substituted aromatic carboxylic acid, including but not restricted to substituted terephthalic units, p(-R-O-CO- C6H4-CO-O-)x and para substituted hydroxybenzoate units p(-R-O-CO- C6H4-O-)x." The para substituted hydroxybenzoate units in PET are ethylene group (CH2-- CH2).

PET is synthesized by reacting ethylene glycol (C2H6O2) and either terephthalic acid or it's metyl ester with the aid of the an antimony oxide catylyst. The reaction is carried out in a vaccum at high temperatures to achieve high molecular weight. The clear colorless molten polyester flows onto the casting wheel and forms into very small chips.

PET is a light, stable, chemical resistant material widely used as a packaging and small-scale construction material. It is widely recycled.

Bibliography:
http://arvind.coe.drexel.edu/MATE200/PET.html
http://afma.org/f-tutor/polyester.htm
http://www.psrc.usm.edu/macrog/pet.htm
http://www.indplastic.com/polyeste.htm
http://www.plasticsusa.com/pet.html
http://mabelode.mbhs.edu/binx.mbhs.edu/departments/magnet/coursesandlife/RandE/matsci/2000-pd2/sche.html

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