Plastic materials are used for a variety of purposes, including for packaging, insulation, construction, and medical devices. They are strong, lightweight, and durable, making them a great choice for many applications. They are also very versatile and can be molded into many different shapes and sizes. In addition, plastic materials are often more cost-effective than other materials, making them an ideal choice for many projects.
How plastic products are made?
Depending on the type of plastic and the product being made, the plastic may be melted and molded into the desired shape by using injection molds, extruded and cut into the desired shape, or thermoformed into the desired shape. After being formed into the desired shape, the plastic may be sent through several finishing processes, such as painting, coating, or stamping, to become the final product.
What are thermoplastic and thermoset plastic?
Two widely utilized forms of plastic are thermoplastic and thermoset plastic. Although they might use comparable production techniques, the end result differs greatly. The thermoplastic may be heated, molded into the appropriate shapes, then cooled and hardened. It can be repeatedly reheated, melted down, and reformed. This property makes thermoplastic material a recyclable material but limits its application on high-temperature applications.
Thermoset plastic, on the other hand, is a kind of plastic that hardens and sets when heated. After cooling and hardening, this kind of plastic cannot be melted down and molded again. Hence, thermoset plastic is widely used in high-temperature applications.
What is the common thermoplastic material?
Here are some widely used thermoplastic materials and their applications.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a type of plastic that is strong and durable. It is easy to process and resistant to various chemicals, moisture, and impacts. It can be used for a wide range of applications, from plastic bottles and food containers, to outdoor furniture and playground equipment, to pipe systems for water, gas, and sewage.
LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) is a type of polyethylene that is used in a variety of applications due to its flexibility, durability and relative low cost. It is often used to produce products with soft touch, like plastic bags, food packaging, toys, and more.
- Polypropylene (PP)
Polypropylene is lightweight, strong, and resistant to fatigue, making it ideal for items that require durability, such as packaging, ropes, carpets, car parts and plastic parts for appliances. PP has good heat resistance and is considered as a food-safe material which makes it the best option for lunch box, baby bottle, and cups.
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is a type of plastic that is commonly used in construction materials, such as pipes and fittings, as well as for items like window frames, flooring, and roofing. It is durable and inexpensive, making it a popular choice for a variety of different applications. However, PVC is not a food-safe material.
- Polystyrene (PS)
Polystyrene is a synthetic polymer made from styrene, and is commonly know as foam. Its application include packaging materials, insulation, disposable cups and plates, coatings, construction materials, and toys. PS can release toxic chemicals when get in touch with strong acids or alkalis. In addition, PS food boxes cannot be used to contain hot food or used in Microwave.
- Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
ABS stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and is a thermoplastic polymer. This is one of the strongest plastics. It is commonly used in consumer products such as toys, electronics and appliances. Automotive industry uses this material for fuel tanks, wheel covers and bumpers.
- Polycarbonate (PC)
Polycarbonate is a type of strong, durable plastic that has a wide range of uses in many different industries. It is often used in place of glass due to its superior properties such as impact resistance, light weight, and flexibility. Polycarbonate is commonly used for a variety of products including eyeglasses, automotive windows, and bulletproof glass. It is also used in construction for roofing, wall cladding, and glazing, and in electronics and medical equipment.
- Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is a type of plastic used for food containers, beverage bottles, and many other packaging products. It is a strong, lightweight, and versatile material that is resistant to water and most chemicals. PET is also widely used in non-food applications such as clothing, automotive components, and furniture. PET will release toxic chemicals while working at temperatures higher than 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Acrylates are a family of organic compounds that are based on acrylic acid or its derivatives. They are used as a monomer for various polymers and copolymers products including paints, adhesives, and sealants. Acrylates are also used in the production of cosmetics and personal care products, inks, and coatings.
- Polyamides (PA, Nylon)
Polyamides are a family of synthetic materials that are used in a variety of ways. They are very durable and resistant to chemicals, oils, and temperatures. Common applications include automotive parts, industrial fabric, and electrical insulation.
What are the common thermoset plastic?
Here are examples of thermoset plastic and their applications:
- Polyurethanes (PU)
Polyurethanes are a type of plastic that are used for a variety of applications. They are most commonly used to make furniture, bedding, carpeting, insulation, adhesives, sealants, and automotive components. Polyurethanes are known for their durability and resistance to heat, moisture, and chemicals.
Polyester is a thermoset plastic that is mainly used for producing fabric. As a plastic fiber, polyester can be strong, lightweight, and stain-free. Polyester can be recycled from waste PET material.
Phenolic is a thermosetting plastic which is often used for molding products that must withstand high temperatures, such as electrical components and bearings.
Epoxy is a thermoset plastic that is often used as an adhesive. It is highly resistant to water, chemicals, and heat. Epoxy usually mixes with glass fiber or carbon fiber to form strong composite structures, which are used in cars, tools, and boats.