Plastic is as varied as it is malleable. As a man-made substance, plastic can be created to almost any specifications, and each plastic type has its own particular functions and uses, from elastic to rigid. Here is a list of 10 plastics associated with injection moulding and their properties:
* Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene, (ABS), Thermoplastic. ABS is often used in the automotive industry for consoles, panels, trims and vents. It is both strong and flexible, chemically resistant and has a relatively low manufacturing cost. It is also often used for boxes, gauges, housings, asthma inhalers and toys.
* Allyl Resin, (Allyl), Thermoset polycondensate. Allyl is used chiefly as an adhesive for laminated materials. It hardens when cured, and compounds based on allyl prepolymers reinforced with fibers of glass, cloth or acrylic to improve its properties. This is an essentially colourless resin, and so can be made into a variety of colours.
* Cellulosic, Thermoplastic modified natural polymer substance. This is a tough compound and is often used in handles, eyewear frames, anything that requires strength. It is a transparent compound and has a high cost of manufacture.
* Ethylene vinyl alcohol, (E/VAL), Thermoplastic polymer. This compound has been around in a mass-production capacity since 1945. It is isften used in packaging of textiles but is also used as a coating in construction as it has good barrier properties for gases and aromatic materials.
* Liquid Crystal Polymer, (LCP), Thermoplastic. LCP is an expensive material, but it is very strong and is both chemically resistant and heat redardent. It is often used in electronics for connectors and in the medical industry as surgical devices.
* Nylon (Polyamide 6(PA6); Polyamide 6/6(PA66); Polyamide 11+12(PA11+12), Nylon is a common material used in everyday products. It is strong, hardy and ranges in colour from milky-white to almost clear. Although used often, it can be expensive.
* Polycarbonate, (PC), Thermoplastic polycondensate. This is a material that we come into contact with regularly. It is tough, stable and transparent. Used for bottles, car parts, housings and helmets to name but a few, this material is expensive, but often used in mass production.
* Polyester, Thermoplastic or thermoset polycondensate. This is a hardy, rigid, heat- and chemical-resistant property. It is used for electrical components, gears, wheels and in the automotive industry.
* Polystyrene, (PS), Thermoplastic polymer. Polystyrene can refer to two different types. General purpose (GPPS) polystyrene is the brittle, cheap material that is often used for packing products into boxes. High impact polystyrene (HIPS) is hardy, has impact toughness and is translucent. It is used from electrical components to food containers to toys.
* Polyurethane, (PU), Thermoplastic or thermoset, (typically reinforced), polyadduct. This is a unique material as it offers a great amount of strength whilst also retaining a certain amount of elasticity. They are often used in foam products.
There is an incredible range of plastics available to the plastic injection moulding trade. Each retaining its own particular properties, strengths and weaknesses, it’s no wonder we see items around us on a daily basis that have come to us through this process.