When nylon was invented, it hailed the wonder material of the modern age. In the 21st century that honor has to go to thermoplastics. Its uses are endless, it saves time, energy and other natural resources and, of course, money. It seems there is nothing that cannot be reproduced in thermoplastic and at a fraction of the cost. But just like nylons run if you catch them, there must be some limitations, so far, they are so outweighed by the benefits.
What are Thermoplastics?
Thermoplastics are polymers that are reactive to heat. When they get hot chemical bonds between the molecules loosened. The polymer changes state and becomes liquid and once cooled becomes hard and solid again. In between, they are easy to bend and mold which is why using it the favorite material of so many different manufacturers.
Pros of Thermoplastics
There are different qualities of thermoplastic. Some are used in common everyday products to replace natural materials such as wood or ceramic. Some are so incredibly strong they can replace metal completely. Specialist thermoplastics can be very expensive but are still in high demand.
Thermoplastics are not only strong but they are lightweight which is something extra special in engineering and manufacturing. This is the reason for its strong demand. Lightweight thermoplastics are replacing many metal components throughout the engineering industry.
Another reason for the increasing popularity of thermoplastics is its low processing cost. They are molded and formed into the desired shape in no time and with precision.
Cons of Thermoplastics
Thermoplastics are plastics that change their state with a change in temperature. They are bound to deform or even melt if continuously exposed to a heat source. Some poor quality thermoplastics even melt after prolonged exposure to the UV rays in sunlight. Remember the collapsing white garden chairs?
Thermoplastics are also not resistant to organic or highly polar solvents which is a drawback for some industries.
When the bonds begin weakening, some crack and shatter under stress instead of melting and becoming deformed which again, puts a limitation on their use.
Types of Thermoplastics
There are two types of thermoplastics:
- · High-temperature Thermoplastics
- · Engineering Thermoplastics
High-temperature thermoplastics are highly resistant to temperature fluctuations. Some high-temperature thermoplastics maintain their solid-state up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. While others types maintain their shape to -100 degrees Fahrenheit. PVC and polypropylene are examples of high-temperature thermoplastics.
Engineering thermoplastics are nonflammable and are resistant up to 100 degrees Celsius. They are the most expensive thermoplastics and can be made as soft as rubber or as hard as aluminum. Nylon and polyesters are examples of engineering thermoplastics.
Common Uses of Thermoplastics
- PVC or polyvinyl chloride is the most common thermoplastic and used for making pipes, plastic containers and bottles.
- Car bodies and garden furniture are often made up of thermoplastic known as polyester resin.
- Lenses and windows are also made of thermoplastics which are known as polymethyl methacrylate.
Thermoplastics are perfect for a disposable society that is trying to turn things around, and your business can benefit from it, especially when you work with Thermoplastic Sheets: Regal Plastics. From brushes to shoe horns, containers to guttering, they offer a way to get a product manufactured fast and relatively cheaply. But there biggest contribution is that they are endlessly recyclable. Even that process is simple – heat, melt, reform and cool. For years, we took our wonder material for granted and carelessly threw it away. Perhaps now, we have more incentive to hail thermoplastic as the perfect tangle of polymers for manufacturing almost anything in a new modern age.