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Classifying Packaging Materials
Properties of Packaging Materials
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Materials to test:

  • Metals : Copper, Aluminium, Zinc , and Iron

  • Plastics : LDPE, HDPE, PVC, PP, PS and PETE

  • Glass

  • Ceramic

 

 

The following test is specific to plastics and should be carried out by your teacher.

 

Testing for the presence of chlorine

Warm a piece of copper wire in a Bunsen flame and attach it to a sample of plastic and place in the flame. The presence of a blue/green colour shows the presence of chlorine, hence the plastic is PVC.

 

Reminder

Type of Plastic

Name

Abbreviation

recycle01

Polyethyleneterephthalate

PETE

recycle02

High density polyethlene

HDPE

recycle03

Polyvinylchloride

PVC

recycle04

Low density polyethlene

LDPE

recycle05

polypropylene

PP

recycle06

Polystyrene

PS

 

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Everyday Materials

Testing Materials

 

Brilliance (shininess):

Polish the surface of the material, if it reflects the light it is likely to be a metal.

 

Conduction of electricity:

Set up the circuit as shown below, and test the materials, if the bulb lights it is a conductor and hence a metal, if an insulator then an organic or ceramic material. (Exception: Carbon).

testing materials

Test of magnetism:

Note which materials are attracted to a magnet.

 

The following tests are specific to plastics

Solubility

Place small samples of plastic in 10ml acetone in a beaker if after 5 minutes there is sign of it dissolving then it is or contains polystrene.

 

Floatability:

Place samples of plastics in

  1. Pure water

  2. Salty water

If it floats in pure water it is likely to be a plastic that contains Polyethylene and/or polypropylene.

If it only floats in salty water then its likely to be a polystyrene.

If it sinks in both it is likely to be PVC or PET.

 

Effect of hot water

Put small samples of plastics in hot water and watch what happens. If it curls up at the edges then the plastics is HDPE or LDPE

 

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