8 Thermoplastics That Are Ideal for Custom Extrusions
Applied Plastics provides custom plastic extrusions for almost every application, no matter how challenging. We produce tubing, profile shapes, and solid rods using a wide variety of materials. Thermoplastics have the advantage of being able to be reheated and remolded as required. Thermoset, on the other hand, is unable to be reheated or remolded after it’s formed. In this post, we will discuss a few of the most popular types of thermoplastics we offer.
Which Thermoplastics Are Best for Custom Extrusions?
Thermoplastics are grouped commercially according to their material properties and typical applications. There are three groups they are organized into: commodity, engineering, and high performance. Commodity plastics are widely available, easy to process, and account for the majority of thermoplastic use. Engineering-grade plastics have properties that make them uniquely suited for certain applications, and high-performance plastics are specially engineered to have unique thermal and mechanical properties.
The following materials span these three thermoplastic categories. They represent some of the most frequently chosen materials; however, Applied Plastics offers a much wider selection of extrusion materials than these types.
- Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS): ABS is a popular type of plastic due to its ease of machining and low production costs. It performs well in both high and low temperatures, displays impact resistance, and is easy to paint and glue. Extruded ABS offers excellent electrical insulation properties.
- Acrylic: A strong, transparent polymer, acrylic is a stronger, more impact-resistant lightweight alternative to glass. It has a high level of clarity, resists electrical current and UV radiation, and is cost-effective.
- Polycarbonate: Polycarbonate is extremely strong and shatterproof, which has led it to be used as a glass alternative in many applications. It is resistant to high temperatures and performs well in applications relating to protection, lighting, or glazing. Extruded polycarbonate is transparent but can be colored easily and has excellent light transmission abilities.
- Polyethylene: Available in several forms, polyethylene is perhaps the most commonly used plastic material. It is highly versatile while being low-cost. Polyethylene extrusions are chemical-resistant, translucent, and strong. It can be easily produced in small diameters which is useful in many healthcare industry applications.
- Polyoxymethylene (POM) (Acetal / Delrin): Also known as Acetal or Delrin, polyoxymethylene is an engineering-grade thermoplastic designed to replace metal. It displays high tensile strength and is very resistant to heat and water absorption. It is used in applications requiring a strong, slippery, or flexible part.
- Polypropylene: Polypropylene is a low-cost, recyclable material that is tolerant of high temperatures and chemical substances. It is highly durable and available in several grades, including food grade. Common applications include automotive components, toy parts, and gardening products.
- Polystyrene (XSP): Polystyrene is a hard plastic that is used to make many products. It can be combined with colorants or other plastics and has excellent insulating and cushioning properties. Polystyrene doesn’t react with metals, is low-cost, and is long-lasting. It is used in appliance manufacturing, the automotive and electronics industries, and more.
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): PVC products are easily created through the extrusion process and can be manufactured to be rigid or flexible. Rigid PVC is the most commonly used form. It is lightweight but strong and used throughout industries such as automotive, construction, marine, and more. Flexible PVC is used in building applications, such as electrical wire insulation.
Custom Extrusions From Applied Plastics
Extruded plastics are created by heating the chosen material until it is melted. This process occurs within a long chamber called the extruder. As the material melts, a revolving screw pushes it forward and through a small opening. The plastic material takes on the shape of the opening, called the die, and forms the desired product. After it has cooled, it can be cut into the desired size.
There are numerous plastic materials suitable for the extrusion process. Many of these materials are low-cost and have important characteristics such as strength and chemical resistance, which have led them to be widely adopted by many industries.
To learn more about the materials that work best for custom extrusions or to get started on your next project, contact the team at Applied Plastics. We are industry leaders in thermoplastic extrusions and provide custom solutions for many industries. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about thermoplastics or the custom extrusion process!