Popping bubble wrap is a captivating idle pass time, is not it? Admit it, some of your fondest childhood reminiscences are of you popping away at a sheet of the stuff with absorbed interest, proper? In these treasured idle moments did you ever wonder how that bubble wrap is made? Or how these perfect little pockets of air are trapped between the plastic just in your popping pleasure? Read on to search out out precisely how it’s all done.
First, granules of plastic are intently sprinkled onto a heated conveyor belt. This warms the plastic grains to a pliable consistency, although they nonetheless hold their shape. Think of these bits of plastic like heated chocolate chips; even when they’re hot they still stay the identical shape unless disturbed, at which point they change into liquid. So the warm plastic grains pass under a roller which squashes them all flat. During this squashing, the person bits of plastic get melded together and a thin, clear sheet of plastic emerges on the opposite side of the roller.
Now, two of these sheets are used for making bubble wrap. One has the actual bubbles and the opposite acts as a cover to seal the air in. To form the bubbles, the first sheet is wrapped around a cylindrical bar with little bubble formed indentations in it. As the plastic is held taut on the cylinder, suction pulls it into each little gap, shaping the bubbles by stretching plastic into the dents. This is quite a bit like when you poke you finger right into a taut sheet of plastic wrap and go away a dent.
Finally, the second sheet of plastic is laid on top of the first, trapping the air in the bubbles between them. A blast of hot air seals the two sheets together right into a single piece and voila! bubble wrap! The factory packages the bubble wrap (no stuffing required there) and ships it off. The many firms and companies that use this product everyday receive it and package their own items in it to protect them from damage in transit.
So the next time a large package arrives at your door and you rip it open to find it stuffed with bubble wrap, think back to the factory where that stuffing was made. And while you’re indulging your inner child by enjoying with your noisy improvised toy, remember the simple process that created this wonderfully amusing material. Happy popping!
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