The Magic of Plastic
A plastic cup cannot, of course, exist without plastic. The key to plastic is its molecular structure, which is fused together by covalent chemical bonds. Because of the synthetic materials plastic is composed of and its elasticity, it is ideal for the mass manufacturing of products like cups.
Types of Plastics
Scientifically speaking, plastic responds to heat in two forms: Thermoplastics and thermoset. The former is “weaker,” if you will, as it is prone to melting in minutes when exposed to heat. The latter is a bit more resilient because it is more likely to maintain its shape when exposed to mild heat. Short of being completely scorched, thermoset plastic is going to remain in its original state.
There are generally four ways to mold plastic into a desired shape: Extrusion, blow extrusion, injection molding and blow molding. For the manufacturing of plastic cups, the most effective method is injection molding, wherein hot plastic is injected into a mold (in this case, one that is in the shape of a cup) and the shape is then mass produced for maximum output.
Plastic Cups: A Timeless Houseware
The versatility of a molecular component like plastic makes it extremely efficient for creating dishware products, such as knives, forks, plates, and cups. Now, instead of worrying about how much water one uses to clean dishes, the fear of waste can be centered on taking up too much landfill space. Double-edged sword aside, plastic cups are ideal for parties with too many guests to accommodate regular cups with.
Some manufacturers will use PP or PET material for their cups, giving it a translucent look that cannot be achieved with paper cups. This, however, can be an annoyance when at a wedding or other family function and attempts at masking the fact that one’s cup is filled to the brim with rum or some other colorful liquour are rendered useless by the cup’s clarity. Then again, people who have plastic cups at their weddings are probably not too judgmental.