Thermal Conversions

How to make Shrinky Dinks with recycled #6 plastic

This shrinky dink activity is a simple example of how thermalplastics work. “Plastics are made of long chain-like molecules called polymers. Because polymers chains are so long, they can be manipulated to create a wide-range of properties, in this case for #6 plastic, polystyrene.  Polystyrene is a thermoplastic, meaning the long polymer chains are heated and stretched, then cooled to form the plastic sheet.  The polystyrene remains in this “stretched out” state unless something causes it to change. The cool thing about thermoplastics is that upon reheating the plastic, it reverts to its original state, in other words, it shrinks.  This is the same process used to “shrink wrap” items like food containers or other products that have protective plastic wraps”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *