Ben's Dive Shop

People have been diving for as long as there have been people and water in which to dive, but until we had modern polymers, diving usually meant holding your breath for a really long time. But polymers have made it possible to go under and breathe, using all the nifty scuba equipment found here in the dive shop. The mask on the left and the snorkel both have lots of silicone rubber. That's the transparent rubber you see. They also contain plastics like PVC and polyethylene.

These wetsuits contain another kind of rubber, called chloroprene, as well as spandex, which is a kind of polyurethane.

With a big heavy air tank on your back you might sink like a brick in the water, were it not for buoyancy compensators like this one Candy is wearing. It's made of nylon, and has air bladders made of polyisobutylene, which is the only kind of rubber that can hold air for long periods of time.

Humans aren't really made for swimming. But we can make up for our lack of webbed feet with these flippers made from polyisoprene.

If you're wading, sometimes there are sharp rocks and such under the water, that can cut your feet. That's what these water shoes are for. They're waterproof thanks to rubber soles made of polyisoprene and a rubber liner made of chloroprene. The outside stretchy fabric is spandex, again a polyurethane.

Is there no end to the parade of footwear? These beach sandals look like they're made out of hemp rope, but they're not. (Sorry to disappoint you ganja fans out there.) They're actually made of polypropylene fibers. Polypropylene doesn't rot when it gets wet the way hemp rope can. That's important when you're walking near oceans and other big holes full of water.

On top of the water you'll find things like this jet-ski. The bodies of machines like this can be made of really nifty polymer called polydicyclopentadiene. Why is it nifty? Because it's made by a nifty reaction called ring opening metathesis polymerization.

And with that jet-ski you can pull someone on waterskis or a wake board. They're made of materials like Kevlar® and polyurethanes.

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