The second industrial revolution 1860-1930 4° lesson

The second industrial revolution: towards the future

The second industrial revolution took place between 1860 and 1930 thanks to new materials and new technologies created by man that could further develop society.

In this case there was the transition from the use of coal to the use of oil, in fact during the course of history there was a decline in the use of coal from 1920, but it was continuously used until 1960.

Actually, it has never disappeared definitively, in fact it still exists, but it is no longer the raw material on which our society is based.

Oil takes up less space compared to coal and wood for the same amount of energy produced. It can also be put in barrels and crammed in places where there is moisture, a negative element for the two materials mentioned above.

This material was initially used on the new technologies of the time, such as the internal combustion engine: in fact, cars worked thanks to gas derived from coal, before being replaced with oil.

While designing it must be taken into consideration that every action corresponds to an equal and opposite relationship. I mentioned the third principle of dynamics because it can be applied to the use of oil as a fuel. It is certainly a simpler material to use, but it has numerous scraps that can be converted into usable material, such as for Diesel or for the first hints of synthetic plastic, such as Bakelite.

During the First World War, oil became a strategic raw material that all the nations of the world wanted to control, both for the use of fuel and for the exploitation of this new material.

The material in World War II

After the Second World War the demand for oil exploded exponentially, as many cars began to circulate around the world, increasing the demand for this new raw material. In addition, numerous scientific discoveries lead to the birth of new materials derived from petroleum. In a few years Bakelite, Cellophane, PMMA, Polyethylene, Melamine resins, PVC, Nylon, PET and many others where introduced on the market. 

All these new materials drastically changed the habits of society, both positively and negatively. Just think of the fact that materials used in the surgical field were born to extend human life, but at the same time the use of disposable products took hold and this will create a huge problem on earth.

Countries that had a higher oil reserve in respect to others could accumulate greater wealth and become in effect more powerful.

Just think that before the arrival of this product the main raw materials were coal, wool, iron and wheat and the most powerful countries were England, Germany and the United States, while after the discovery of this material, the Germany’s power weakens, living room for new states such as the Arab Emirates.

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