There are a wide variety of resins available to the plastic extrusion industry, but two major categories in particular make up the large majority of resins – thermosets and thermoplastics.
A vast number of plastic materials make up subgroups of thermosets and thermoplastics. These include, but are not exclusive to, many different types of plastic and resins that Plastic Extrusion Technologies uses to create products for our clients, such as:
- ABS – a type of Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene plastic
- Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene or ABS is a tough, heat-resistant engineering plastic that is commonly used in appliances, pipe fittings, and automotive parts. ABS is a styrene-acrylonitrile copolymer modified by butadiene rubber. It combines the resilience of polybutadiene with the rigidity and impact strength of polystyrene.
- PC/ABS – a polycarbonate/ABS composite
- Polycarbonate/Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, or PC/ABS, is a mix of Polycarbonate and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene providing an unique combination of processability and mechanical properties such as high impact and heat resistance. PC/ABS have excellent low temperature toughness, which makes them ideal for products that need a wide range of temperatures.
- Acrylic – a clear plastic that often resembles glass
- Extruded acrylic is a malleable and low cost form of acrylic. Extruded acrylic sheets are transparent and moisture-resistant. It is clearer than glass and will not yellow after being in sun exposure. It is also easy to bend, cut, glue, and polish, making it ideal in greenhouses, sheds, garages, and indoor applications.
- Hytrel – an elastomer with the flexible properties of rubber
- Hytrel® thermoplastic facilitates the design of a variety of parts and products by combining features of both high-performance elastomers and flexible plastic materials. Hytrel® has the ability to flex and recover. It has excellent flex fatigue resistance and spring-like properties, as well as exceptional toughness.
- Flexible PVC & Rigid PVC – Often used in construction, for tubing or as wire
- Polyvinyl Chloride is used in the plumbing and construction industry to produce custom profiles, pipes for drinking and wastewater, cable insulation, and medical devices. It is known as one of the most versatile and cost-effective materials. PVC can be manufactured to be a very soft plastic through the extrusion process with the use of a plasticizer and additives.
- Polypropylene – Excellent impact resistance in cold weather applications
- Polypropylene is ideal for tough, robust products such as protective car bumpers, medical tools, and cold-weather gear. It also can be engineered into a wide range of packaging that helps protect products such as medicine to food.
- Polyethylene – High and Low density Polyethylene resins are known for their high chemical resistance properties
- High-Density Polyethylene, or HDPE, is often used in entirely different products than Low-Density Polyethylene, or LDPE. LDPE is used in plastic packaging and food packaging such as plastic bags, food containers, and plastic wrap. HDPE is used in construction and heavy duty products such as the fabrication of drain pipes.
- TPR/TPO – Thermal Plastic Rubber / Olefin resins used most often in automotive and sealing gasket applications. Excellent cold temperature properties. Also a good alternative to certain thermoset rubbers. Able to be colored.
- Thermoplastic olefins, or TPOs, are a group of polymer-blend plastics. TPOs consist of a mix of a thermoplastic like polypropylene, an elastomer such as EPDM, and fillers. Because there are so many possible formulations, olefins are a very versatile group of thermoplastics that find use in many applications and plastic products.
- Nylon 6 – Resin known for its toughness and resistance to wear
- Nylon 6 is an abrasion-resistant material and is very tough. It has better surface appearance and material properties compared to nylon 6/6. It can be molded about 80 degrees F lower with less mold shrinkage because it is less crystalline. Nylon 6 has a lower modulus and absorbs moisture more rapidly than nylon 6/6. Moisture reduces tensile strength and stiffness and increases elongation.
- Noryl – Resin with excellent electrical characteristics. Good for high temperature applications where RPVC fails.
- Noryl® exhibits low moisture absorption, which provides excellent insulating properties and dimensional stability over different levels of humidity and temperature. Noryl® has great electrical insulating properties and long-term dimensional stability due to low moisture absorption.
- Resin that has excellent impact resistance and clarity
- Polycarbonate polymers are used to produce a variety of materials and are useful when impact resistance is a requirement. PC is commonly used for lenses in eyeglasses, medical devices, automotive parts, protective gear, and exterior lighting fixtures. A major attribute of thermoplastics is that they can be heated to their melting point, cooled, and reheated again without significant degradation. Thermoplastics like Polycarbonate liquefy, which allows them to be used in injection molding.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
At Plastic Extrusion Technologies, we always want to provide you with detailed insights into our materials and processes, ensuring you have the knowledge to make the best choices for your specific needs. These FAQs we’ve prepared aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of these specific materials and processes, highlighting their unique properties, applications, and benefits
What are Thermosets and Thermoplastics?
- Thermosets are polymers that solidify or “set” irreversibly when heated. They are ideal for high-heat applications due to their ability to withstand high temperatures without losing shape. Thermoplastics, on the other hand, can be heated, shaped, and cooled repeatedly. This property makes them highly versatile for various applications, including recyclability.
What is ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene), and where is it commonly used?
- ABS is a strong, heat-resistant plastic widely used in engineering and manufacturing. Its high-impact strength and durability make it ideal for products like appliances, pipe fittings, and automotive parts. ABS’s versatility allows it to be used in both household and industrial applications.
How does PC/ABS differ from ABS, and what are its unique properties?
- PC/ABS is a blend of Polycarbonate and ABS, combining the best of both materials. It has the high impact resistance of Polycarbonate and the processability of ABS. This makes it suitable for products requiring a wide temperature range, such as automotive components and electronic housing.
What are the advantages of using Acrylic in plastic extrusion?
- Acrylic is a transparent plastic with glass-like clarity and is more impact-resistant than glass. It’s also lightweight and can be easily shaped, cut, and bonded, making it suitable for a wide range of applications, from greenhouses to vehicle windows.
What is the difference between Flexible and Rigid PVC?
- Flexible PVC is enhanced with plasticizers to make it soft and flexible, ideal for hoses, tubing, and insulation. Rigid PVC, on the other hand, is stiff and used for construction applications like pipes and fittings. Both types are durable, resistant to chemicals and weathering.
Why is Polypropylene favored in cold weather applications?
- Polypropylene has excellent impact resistance, especially in low temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor and cold weather applications. It’s used in products like car bumpers, cold-weather gear, and robust packaging to protect against breakage in cold environments.
How do High-Density and Low-Density Polyethylene differ in their applications?
- High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is stiffer, stronger, and less permeable, perfect for heavy-duty applications like drain pipes and containers. Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) is more flexible and used in packaging, including plastic bags and film wrap.
Why is Nylon 6 preferred for products requiring wear resistance?
- Nylon 6 is chosen for its high wear and abrasion resistance. It’s ideal for products subjected to wear and tear, such as gears, bearings, and industrial components. Its durability and resilience under stress make it a top choice for tough applications.
In what applications is Noryl typically used, and why?
- Noryl is used in applications requiring strong electrical insulation and stability across temperature and humidity variations. It’s ideal for electrical components and high-temperature applications where materials like RPVC may fail.
What makes Polycarbonate a suitable material for impact-resistant products?
- Polycarbonate is highly valued for its impact resistance and optical clarity. It’s widely used in safety equipment, eyewear lenses, and automotive parts. Its ability to withstand high impacts without shattering makes it ideal for protective applications.
What is Extruded Polyethylene and How is it Used?
- Extruded polyethylene is a form of polyethylene plastic that has been melted and formed into a continuous profile through an extrusion process. This material is known for its durability, flexibility, and resistance to moisture and chemicals. It’s widely used in the production of pipes, tubes, sheets, and films, and is particularly popular in the packaging and construction industries.
How Does Plastic ABS Differ from Other Plastics?
- Plastic ABS distinguishes itself from other plastics by its unique combination of properties. It’s more rigid and tougher than many other plastics, making it resistant to physical impacts and abrasions. ABS also has a higher melting point, which makes it suitable for applications that may experience higher temperatures. Additionally, its ease of processing and smooth surface finish make it a preferred choice for many manufacturing processes.
What are the Advantages of Plastic Extrusion?
- Extruded plastic offers several advantages: it allows for the production of complex cross-sectional shapes that would be difficult or impossible to produce using other methods. The extrusion process is highly efficient and can produce long lengths of plastic in a continuous manner, which is cost-effective for high-volume production. Extruded plastics also offer uniformity in thickness and density and can be custom-designed for specific applications, making them highly adaptable for various industries.