The clothes which we wear are made of fabrics. Fabrics are made from fibres obtained from natural or artificial sources. Can you name some natural fibres? Fibres are also used for making a large variety of household articles. Make a list of some common articles made from fibres. Try to separate them into those made from natural fibres and those made from artificial fibres.
Try to recall the uniform pattern found in a necklace of beads joined with the help of a thread [Fig. 3.1(a)]. Or, try to join a number of paper clips together to make a long chain, as in Fig. 3.1 (b). Is there any similarity between the two?
You have read in Class VII that silk fibre obtained from silkworm was discovered in China and was kept as a closely guarded secret for a long time. Fabric obtained from silk fibre was very costly. But its beautiful texture fascinated everybody. Attempts were made to make silk artificially. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, scientists were successful in obtaining a fibre having properties similar to that of silk. Such a fibre was obtained by chemical treatment of wood pulp. This fibre was called rayon or artificial silk. Although rayon is obtained from a natural source, wood pulp, yet it is a man-made fibre. It is cheaper than silk and can be woven like silk fibres. It can also be dyed in a wide variety of colours. Rayon is mixed with cotton to make bed sheets or mixed with wool to make carpets.
Imagine that it is a rainy day. What kind of umbrella would you use and why? Synthetic fibres possess unique characteristics which make them popular dress materials. They dry up quickly, are durable, less expensive, readily available and easy to maintain. Perform the following activity and learn for yourself.
You must be familiar with many plastic
articles used everyday. Make a list of
such items and their uses.
Plastic is also a polymer like the synthetic fibre. All plastics do not have the same type of arrangement of units. In some it is linear, whereas in others it is cross-linked.
Today if we think of storing a food item, water, milk, pickles, dry food, etc., plastic containers seem most convenient. This is because of their light weight, lower price, good strength and easy handling. Being lighter as compared to metals, plastics are used in cars, aircrafts and spacecrafts, too. The list is endless if we start counting articles like slippers, furniture and decoration pieces, etc.
When we go to the market, we get usually things wrapped in plastic or packed in polythene bags. That is one reason why plastic waste keeps getting accumulated in our homes. Ultimately, plastic finds its way in the garbage. Disposal of plastic is a major problem. Why?