A lot of the world’s largest structures are made of thick walls of concrete, which practically makes it very difficult to break into. You probably would need a tank’s cannon to make a dent on it. If you manage to crack the surface somehow, underneath, you will expose the steel beams used to frame the whole building. It would take machines that are larger than life to bend those tough materials. So if you want to make a fortress-like structure, those are the two materials you have to go to.
There are plastic sheet manufacturers who are producing synthetic material in high quantities. These could end up as part of a house’s roofing or used as divider of a large room. You may not think of plastic being used in such a scenario, where “tougher” parts are needed. But it can be more durable than you think. If you are not convinced, here are four kinds that will change your mind.
The tensile strength of a material is a good measure of how much punishment it can withstand. If it can survive high-impact and high-stress activities, you can say that it is on the higher end of the spectrum. The unit of this is in pound-force per inch or psi.
When you are in an industrial setting where there is a high chance of debris flying all over the place, protecting your eyes is paramount. You are usually supplied with eyewear that is designed to do just that. You have to thank polycarbonate for providing the building blocks of that protective accessory. It is responsible for making the glasses tough and yet light, and still retaining a very smooth and clear transparent surface. Its toughness is nothing to sneeze at because it can withstand up to 11,000 psi.
You may have seen nylon weaved into tennis rackets. That sport has its players hitting hard, so you could only imagine the amount of abuse the plastic strings can withstand. It is also a material used in heavy-duty ropes. You can use that to tow another vehicle. The said rope would have to pull something that could weigh more than a tonne. The fantastic thing about it is it can spring back into its old form once done as if it had not broken a sweat. You need to have super strength if you want to break it because it can handle more than 26,000 psi.
If your exposure to acrylic consists of those small sheets that are usually used as protective frames for posters, you have not witnessed its true capabilities yet. It can be used as panels for building windows. There are even giant aquariums that make it possible for people to enjoy viewing the underwater scene without fear of a shark or another large sea creature bumping and shattering it. And do not forget that it can also hold all that pressure from the body of water constantly pushing against it. Do not be surprised that it can handle all that, because it has a tensile strength of 10,000 psi.
Whoever says that plastic is cheap and weak needs to do some more research. While the latter may be true, the latter can be debunked by the myriad of extreme scenarios these examples could handle. So the next time you round up the tough materials in your neighborhood, do not forget these plastics in your roll call.