We still play the vinyl!

DJ Poly You probably don't remember when everyone played all their music on records. These big flat plastic things are made of polyvinylchloride, a polymer commonly called vinyl. But people didn't call records "vinyl" untill after CD's became popular. Before the 90's they were just called "records".

DJ Poly here still plays records at parties. So do a lot of DJ's. In fact, long dance music tracks are still recorded on records. DJ's seem to like them better. They can control the speed of their record players to mix one song into another.

Now records are pretty hard to find, because most "record" stores look like this, packed with CD's and tapes.

But those CD's are still made from polymers called polycarbonates, a material also used for shatterproof windows. The case the CD comes in is made of polystyrene.

Here you can see some actual polyvinylchloride records! These are called long-playing records or LP's for short. The older records which could only play a single song per side were not made from vinyl, but a natural polymer called shellac - made from the excretions of bugs that only live in India and South Asia! Wow! Records from insects! Before 12 inch vinyl LP's there was no way to record long pieces of music like Beethoven's symphonies. People had to go to concert halls to hear their favorite classical pieces. And singers could not record whole albums the way they do now... but of course with CD's the albums are even longer than before. Records usually can hold about 10 or 12 songs, while some CD's have 16 or 18!

A cassette tape is made from many parts made from polymers. The outer casing that holds all the tape inside is made from polystyrene. The tape itself is a thin film of polyester, but in the old days the tape was made of cellulose acetate. Other parts are made from nylon, polyethylene, and other polymers. These 8 track tapes were only popular for a few years before cassettes took over. They were made of the same stuff as cassettes, a polystyrene housing, and tape made of polyester. That's appropriate, because people wore a lot of polyester clothing when 8-tracks were all the rage in the 60's and 70's.

Those t-shirts with the names of your favorite bands are made from polymers, too. ELO is a band that was popular back when people listened to more records, and this genuine ELO T-shirt is made of cotton fibers, which is a form of cellulose, a polysaccharide.

And finally, these oak CD cabinets are made of wood, and wood is another form of cellulose. Since cellulose in the form of cotton plant fibers or wood is made by nature, it is called a natural polymer.

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