Paint and Decor

Here's the place where you can find all kinds of polymers that you can use to make your home distinctive and unique, most of which you come across everyday.


The carpet that keeps your feet from freezing on cold winter mornings is made from nylon. Sometimes carpets are treated with polytetrafluoroethylene to make them stain resistant. The padding underneath that carpet is a foam made of polyurethane.

In the kitchen and bathroom, things can get kind of wet, and carpet could get kind of nasty with all that water around. So for kitchens and bathroom floors there is linoleum, which is made of PVC plastic, or poly(vinyl chloride). That's right, you couldn't slide around on the kitchen floor in your socks if it weren't for polymers.

This hardwood flooring is also made of cellulose . You can slide around in your socks on this stuff, too.

For those who feel the need to carpet the outdoors as well as the indoors there is this indoor/outdoor carpeting. Because it's made of polypropylene it can stand up to rain and humidity and all kinds of outdoor water. Unlike some materials, polypropylene doesn't rot when it gets wet.

But enough talk of floors. A little higher up you can see that your kitchen counters are also made of polymers. Most are made of melamine-formaldehyde resin, like this green one right here. Melamine-formaldehyde resin is usually sold under the name Formica.

Then there's this gray countertop. It's made of a special material. In kitchens where heat resistance is important (think of setting hot pots down on your counter) are made of poly(methyl methacrylate) blended with aluminum oxides. This mixture is sold under different names, such as Corian and Gibraltar.

Then there are the walls. They need to be decorated, too, unless you like looking at bare sheetrock. This acrylic paint contains poly(methyl methacrylate), the same stuff as in the wonderful counter tops we just saw. Acrylic latex paints also have copolymers of poly(vinyl acetate).

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