Plastics are widely used around the world today. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and HDPE (high-density polyethylene). The recycling rate varies from country to country. In some countries, they are recycled into various consumer goods such as clothing, shoes, bags, or even toys.
Types Of Plastics or Classification Of Plastics
There are over 100 types of plastics and each has its own unique properties and uses. Most commonly, they are classified into three categories: thermoplastics, thermosets, and elastomers. Thermoplastics are typically polymers (chemicals) that soften or melt at high temperatures. They include PVC, HDPE, PP, PS, PET, etc. Thermoset materials are generally rigid and non-melting.
They include ABS, PBT, PC, PMMA, Urethane, etc. Elastomers are rubbers and foams that can stretch and return to their original shape. They include natural rubber, styrene, nitrile, neoprene, silicone, latex, etc.
What are Plastics?
Plastic is a broad word that refers to a variety of plastic or semi-synthetic materials that are used in a wide range of applications. Plastics can be used almost everywhere. Plastic goods help us live a cleaner, simpler, stronger, and more satisfying life. Plastics can be found in the clothing we wear, the homes we live in, and the automobiles we drive. Plastics are used in the toys we play with, the screens we watch, the IT instruments we use, and the surgical devices we use.
Plastics are a material that is made up mainly of macromolecules, that can be made fluid by the action of heating and pressurizing, and that can be processed into end products with any useful shape you want to make.
Classification of Plastics
Plastics can be classified into:
1. Thermoplastics and Thermosets
2. Amorphous Thermoplastics and Crystalline Thermoplastics
3. Commodity Plastics and Engineering Plastics
4. Thermoplastics and thermosets are the two major forms of plastics.
Thermoplastics Vs Thermosets
• TPE – thermoplastic elastomer
• Resemble rubber at room temperature
• Can be melt-processed like other thermoplastics
• Become elastic like rubber when cooled
- TPEs have the elasticity of a cross-linked rubber, despite the fact that they are thermoplastic. Their softness or hardness value, as measured on the Shore durometer scale, is a key predictor. TPEs are available as very soft gel materials from 20 Shore OO to 90 Shore A, at which point they join the Shore D scale and can be manufactured to provide hardness values up to 85 Shore D, which designates a very hard substance.
Amorphous Thermoplastics Vs. Crystalline Thermoplastics
Thermo sets Classifications
Commodity Plastics Vs Engineering Plastics
Engineering plastics vary from commodity plastics in that they are manufactured to survive mechanical and environmental pressures that commodity plastics are not. Engineering plastics have a wide range of uses, but they are not commercially manufactured to the same extent as consumer plastics.
Plastic is a polymeric plastic with the ability to be formed or shaped, typically with the use of heat and pressure. Plasticity, which is often combined with other unique properties including low density, low electrical conductivity, transparency, and hardness, enables plastics to be made into a wide range of products. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) beverage bottles, adjustable garden hoses made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), insulating food containers made of foamed polystyrene, and shatterproof windows made of poly methyl methotrexate are only a few examples.
Typical Plastics are
- Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), commonly known as polyester plastic, is a type of synthetic polymer derived from petrochemicals. PET is used for making bottles, containers, packaging materials, fibers, films, and many other products. It’s a tough material that doesn’t break down easily under normal conditions.
- High-density Polyethylene (HDPE)
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a thermoplastic resin that is transparent, strong, lightweight, and flexible. HDPE is often used in applications where its toughness, chemical resistance, and optical clarity are desired. It can be processed using extrusion techniques and injection molding.
- Low-density Polyethylene(LDPE)
Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is a thermoplastic resin that is clear, strong, lightweight, highly resistant to chemicals, and relatively inexpensive. LDPE is widely used in manufacturing packaging, including food and beverage containers, film, and pipes.
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a thermoplastic resin that is colorless, odorless, tasteless, nonflammable, and flexible. PVC is used in a wide variety of applications, including plumbing systems, wire insulation, piping, toys, floor coverings, and consumer goods.
- Polypropylene (PP)
Polypropylene (PP) is a thermoplastic resin that is colorless and odorless. PP is used in packaging, construction, automotive parts, and agricultural equipment.
- Polystyrene (PS)
Polystyrene (PS) is a thermoplastic resin that is transparent, hard, brittle, and does not melt at high temperatures. PS is used in building supplies, disposable cups, packaging, and insulation.
- Polycarbonate (PC)
Polycarbonate (PC) is a thermoplastic resin that is transparent, non-toxic, and durable. PCs are used in transportation, building materials, appliances, and electronic devices.