The Discovery of Vinyl
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owner of the online magnet store, www.Custom-Magnets.com. Custom-Magnets has been supplying
magnetic material and custom fridge magnets since 1999.
Vinyl is a synthetic plastic material that has the most uses compared to any other plastic in the world. But the discovery of this highly versatile substance was not by design, but quite by accident.
In 1926, a man named Waldo Semon was hired by the BF Goodrich Company to develop a kind of substance that would help to bond metal and rubber together. Mr. Waldo Semon, who was an assistant chemistry teacher with the University of Washington, thus started his research to develop a new manmade adhesive that would be cheaper than available alternatives.
In the course of his research and development, Waldo Semon started to run out of bromide, which was essential in the creation of the new adhesive. In order to find a substitute for bromide, Waldo Semon thought of using chloride in his experiments as chloride was available in plenty.
By using chloride with various other chemicals and adding heat into the equation, Dr. Waldo chanced upon a compound called polyvinyl chloride, which was in a powder form. Further experimentation revealed that when the powder was mixed with hot solvent, it turned into a rubbery gel like substance on cooling. Thus was created the first ever Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or Vinyl) material, which came into being during the search for a synthetic adhesive.
Subsequent experiments with the PVC material showed that it had many practical applications and huge potential. Dr. Waldo successfully molded heels of shoes with PVC and also used it to form coatings for various products such as wires, pliers etc. But the one major thing that Dr. Waldo was not successful was to get PVC to bond to metal, which was what he was trying to develop in the first place.
But nevertheless, this accidental discovery of PVC then found many uses and soon products made from Vinyl started entering the market in a big way. The 1930s saw the entry of many vinyl coated umbrellas, raincoats, etc into the markets. After this, vinyl was used in the manufacture of sealants for auto shock absorbers, thus finding usefulness in the auto industry as well.
In the 1940s, the makers of vinyl did their bit to help out in war times. There was an acute scarcity of natural rubber, thus vinyl was used as a coating for wires and proved to be an excellent substance for insulation of wires.
From there on, Vinyl was used by many different industries for many different applications and uses. In today's times, Vinyl has the distinction of being the most versatile manmade plastic in the entire world, and is the second largest manufactured and sold plastic resin as well.
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