Plasticizers are substances that are added to clay, concrete, cement and plastic products in order to improve their usability and handling. Additives in the production of materials have been used by people for a long time, so examples of plasticizers can be found even in ancient pottery and other archaeological finds. Some of the connections made in antiquity are often repeated today. For example, water is a typical plasticizer – moisture in clay allows you to work easier with it. But in general, plasticizers can be much more complex compounds than just water.
Some plasticizers are added to the material to make it easier to work with during production, while others change the chemical properties of the raw material and the final product. For materials such as concrete, cement, or drywall, plasticizers are added for ease of molding and to eliminate bubbles, lumps, and other problems that detract from the strength and appearance of the finished product. Plasticizers can reduce production costs, as special additives slow down the hardening of concrete, which allows workers to lay concrete surfaces more efficiently and without unnecessary haste.
Chemicals can change the composition of a product, making it more durable or flexible at the end of production. Plasticizers are often added to plastic products to solve problems such as cracking and gaps. Many polymers are rather fragile materials in themselves, so the strengthening of their qualities with additional elements is simply necessary.
Some plasticizers are toxic, so there are fears of the risk of leaching, especially with a group of products known as flulates. Previously, they were widely used in order to produce different products – from polyvinyl chloride pipes to children’s toys. The studies were then proposed to replace this plasticizer, as it can cause health problems.
People who are concerned about the toxicity of certain components of their house can apply to production in order to clarify the materials of plasticizers. In general, of course, companies are trying to use safe plasticizers, but sometimes less attentive manufacturers come across, so you can often hear that the plastics are toxic and distinguish harmful substances.