Surfers Textbook

Section 3- BACKGROUND NOTES ON PLASTICS

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This chapter of work has been included to give the reader a basic understanding of the chemistryof plastics, their uses and how they are shaped. It is particularly important in a teaching environment to have this area of study be included in any program of instruction as it will give students the opportunity to appreciate and evaluate the appropriate use of materials and forming processes. This information should be supported with texts and references as suggested in the Resource List at the back of this book. Ideally, the theory should be dealt with prior to any practical work in the form of assignment and research activities, there by providing a strong incentive to complete written tasks.

For an individual wishing simply to make a surfcraft, it is informative background knowledgebut not essential reading.

It appears somewhat ironic that surfing is rightly perceived as a back to nature, healthy lifestyle activity, which it is in most aspects, however much of the materials used in the industry (particularly on the manufacturing side of the surfcraft) are known to be ‘environmentally unfriendly’ in terms of their manufacture, disposal and health to workers. Additionally much of the equipment that is used in the sport of surfing is produced from a range of polymers including blanks, resins, board leashes, fin systems, plugs, wet suits and rash shirts etc. Therefore, as a consumer and for that matter a designer, it is essential we have an understanding of the technology in order to make informed choices and where possible select materials which have a lesser impact on our environment.

It is more than likely any future innovations will be the result of a better choice of materials and or manufacturing processes, new materials to the industry and/or in combination with consumer driven demands.