Sometimes it feels that way at big events. If we’re watching, everybody (and their ad agencies) want to take credit for – well, everything.
So when we say that pretty much every sport in the Winter Olympics would look a lot different without what we make possible (petrochemicals) — you’re entitled to say, “oh yeah?”
But here’s why we say, “yeah.” And get ready, because this list is a long one:
Skis for downhill skiing. Skis for cross-country skiing. Skis for the biathlon. Skis for all the other ski events.
Made from polymers (the science nerd word for plastics. And those plastics are made with petrochemicals).
Snowboards. Bobsleighs. Luges.
Skates for ice hockey. Skates for speed skating. Skates for figure skating.
There are petrochemicals in the glues. And for some skates, the boot is made with polymers.
Helmets, for all the sports that use them. Jackets, pants and other gear for the outdoor sports. Pads for hockey. The ski jump jumps.
Most of those made from the modern polymers that petrochemicals make possible. And those ceramic (yes, ceramic) ski jumps? There are petrochemicals that go into the making there too.
No, not the human skeleton (well, not yet – but between the newest polymers and 3D printing – stay tuned). The race. Specifically, the sled. Polymers, again.
And sometimes, even the snow and the ice get some help from petrochemicals.
Some artificial snowmaking uses petrochemicals. And helping to keep the ice chill? There’s petrochemicals in that cooling fluid.
Which is to say – just about everything happening at the Winter Olympics, really would be a lot different without petrochemicals.
Even curling. The broom, not the stone. (The handle and the bristles.)
What makes polymers the material of choice? Because when manufacturing with polymers, equipment can be lighter, stronger, more flexible and often less expensive to make – compared to materials like metal, glass and wood. And modern polymers – just can’t be made with the use of petrochemicals.
So enjoy the Olympics. And if you’re not a Winter Olympics fan, well, sorry about that.
You can keep up on all the news (and follow your favorite polymer products) from PyeongChang here, at the official website of the Olympics.