Below we’ve put together a list and descriptions of common polymers and their uses to give you more insight into materials that can be used in your project.
If you want to understand what terms such as monomer and thermoplastic mean, read our Polymer Term article for an insight into the definitions.
Other plastics to cover are TPE, a plastic with similar characteristics to rubber, and PVC, which has two basic forms: rigid and flexible. Rigid PVC can be used for applications such as drain pipes, and flexible PVC can be used for applications such as mats.
PE is also worth mentioning, there are a number of different types of this material: HDPE, and LDPE to name a few. Each has its own characteristics:
- HDPE: High-Density Polyethylene. The characteristics of HDPE are its strength, high impact resistance and melting point. This material can be used in a variety of applications, such as plastic bottles, piping, cutting boards, and plastic lumber.
- LDPE: Low-Density Polyethylene. This is a soft flexible material that is tough, translucent, and weatherproof with a good chemical resistance. LDPE is used commonly in plastic bags and wraps, plastic containers, work surfaces, battery cases and parts that require flexibility.
As mentioned PC/ABS is a blend of PC and ABS. Due to the blend of PC and ABS, the properties of the material are dependent on the ratio of PC to ABS. The main properties of this material are:
- High impact strength even at low temperatures
- Heat Resistance
- High Stiffness
- Easy Processing
- Low overall shrinkage
- Colourable and printable
These properties lend their use to automotive and electronics plastic components.
Colours and Additives
Additionally, some plastics are bought coloured but others will need to be mixed with a masterbatch, a pigment, to produce a specified colour during production.
Depending on the production quantity, compounded (already mixed) polymer can be purchased cost-effectively for production.
Another item to consider is additives, these can be mixed into the polymer before production or compounded and purchased for production.