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The Building Blocks of Modern Life

What can you make from crude oil or natural gas?  Well, maybe it’d be easier to list what you can’t make – because the list of what starts with petrochemicals (the chemicals produced from oil, and natural gas too) is thousands and thousands of items long.  And what’s on that list, are the things of everyday life (and some pretty “wow” futuristic items too).

In the everyday category – pick a room in your house, and there almost certainly is something made from petrochemicals:


Your refrigerator.  The plastic wrap around the food in your refrigerator.  The plastic containers in your refrigerator.  The countertops (if they’re new).


Your shampoo bottles – bandages – aspirin – comb.


Carpets – linoleum – pillows –mattresses – DVDs and flat-screen TVs – tape (the sticky kind) — cellphones – suitcases – plumbing – insulation.


besides the car (dashboard, seats and even in some cases the body) – basketballs – footballs – fishing lures – bike tires – motorcycle helmet –tents – sleeping bag – golf balls.

Petrochemicals are also used to make solar panels (if you’ve got them), and the high-tech thermostat that controls that heat – petrochemicals are part of that too.  Same with your energy-saving LED lights – producing them starts with petrochemicals.

And on the “wow” list?  How about glue that closes wounds instead of stitches?  A (3D) printed prosthetic hand?  Polymer-based armor that’s tougher than today’s bulletproof vests?  Plastic that’s strong enough to replace metal?  Foam that replaces soil for rooftop farms

And since we’re talking futuristic, yeah, the rocket fuel that’s going to propel the space shuttle into outer space on that first expedition to Mars.

WHAT CAN YOU MAKE FROM A BARREL OF OIL? <strong>3d Prosthetic hand</strong>

WHAT CAN YOU MAKE FROM A BARREL OF OIL? <strong>Fuel for expedition to Mars</strong>