With reference to polyethylene terephthalate, the use of which is so widespread in our daily lives, consider the following statements:
- Its fibres can be blended with wool and cotton fibres to reinforce their properties.
- Containers made of it can be used to store any alcoholic beverage.
- Bottles made of it can be recycled into other products.
- Articles made of it can be easily disposed of by incineration without causing greenhouse gas emissions.
Which of the statements given above are correct?
[UPSC Civil Services Exam – 2022 Prelims]
(a) 1 and 3
(b) 2 and 4
(c) 1 and 4
(d) 2 and 3
Polyethylene terephthalate, also known as PET, is a type of synthetic thermoplastic polymer that results from the condensation of terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. PET is highly versatile and can be easily molded into various shapes when heated, and is commonly known by its abbreviated form PET. This material exhibits strong moisture resistance.
- Fabrics made of polyester are characterized by their strength and flexibility. When blended with cotton and other materials, polyester can reduce wrinkling and shrinking, making the fabric more durable and resistant to tearing. Hence statement 1 is correct.
- Storing alcohol in a plastic bottle is highly discouraged. Ethanol can slowly dissolve polymers, so you can’t store it in plastic. Hence statement 2 is incorrect.
- PET consists only of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, so if it is burned in the air (or in pure oxygen), the combustion products will be carbon dioxide and water. Hence statement 4 is incorrect.
Advantages of Polyethylene terephthalate
- Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is readily available and relatively inexpensive.
- It has a high strength-to-weight ratio and is virtually shatterproof.
- PET is very resistant to moisture and has excellent chemical resistance to organic material and water.
- It is not biodegradable, which can be either good or bad depending on its intended use and perspective.
- PET is highly transparent and can be easily recycled.
- It can be reused through washing processes or broken down into its constituent raw materials and turned into the original resin.