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Industrial Plastics

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All you need to know about poly

CLICK TITLES TO NAVIGATE and read our useful information, based on critical properties such as strength, melting point and other thermal qualities. Along with resistance to abrasion, corrosion, chemicals, solvents, acids, bases, fatigue, crushing and UV radiation. Plus identify adaptability based on your specific application, such as translucent piping, colour pigments and performance improvement additives. Once you’ve identified a plastic, browse our product range >>>

HIGH-DENSITY POLYETHYLENE / HDPE / PE100 / PE / PEHD / BLACK POLY

High-density polyethylene (HDPE, PE100) or Polyethylene High Density (PEHD), also known as Black Poly or Blackpoly in the industry is a polyethylene thermoplastic made from petroleum. Known for its large strength to density ratio, it is commonly used in the production of plastic bottles, corrosion-resistant piping, geomembranes, and plastic lumber and is commonly recycled. The density of HDPE (0.93 to 0.97g/cm3) is only marginally higher than that of low-density polyethylene, with low polymer branching, giving it stronger intermolecular forces and tensile strength. The difference in strength exceeds the difference in density, giving HDPE a higher specific strength. It is also harder and more opaque and can withstand somewhat higher temperatures 120°C (248°F) for short periods, 110°C (230°F) continuously. High-density polyethylene, unlike polypropylene, cannot withstand normally required autoclaving conditions.

POLYPROPYLENE / POLYPROPENE / PP

Polypropylene or Polypropene (PP), is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications including industrial processes, manufacturing, medical equipment, packaging and labeling, textiles (e.g., ropes, thermal underwear and carpets), stationery, plastic parts and reusable containers of various types, laboratory equipment, automotive components, and polymer banknotes and is commonly recycled. It is rugged, with good resistance to fatigue and highly resistant to many chemical solvents, bases and acids. PP is reasonably economical and is often opaque or coloured using pigments and can be made translucent when uncoloured. Perfectly isotactic PP has a melting point of 171°C (340°F). Commercial isotactic PP ranges from 160 to 166°C (320 to 331°F), depending on atactic material and crystallinity. Syndiotactic PP with a crystallinity of 30% has a melting point of 130°C (266°F).

ULTRA-HIGH-MOLECULAR-WEIGHT POLYETHYLENE / UHMWPE / UHMW / HMPE / HPPE

Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE, UHMW) also known as High Modulus Polyethylene (HMPE) or High Performance polyethylene (HPPE), is a subset of the thermoplastic polyethylene. It has extremely long polymer chains, resulting in a very tough material, with the highest impact strength of any thermoplastic presently made. UHMWPE is odorless, tasteless, nontoxic and resistant to UV radiation and micro-organisms. Highly resistant to corrosive chemicals and aromatic solvents (except oxidising acids) as it does not contain susceptible chemical agent groups (such as aggressive esters, amides or hydroxylic). It is self-lubricating, with extremely low moisture and water absorption, combined with very high water resistance (making bonding with other polymers difficult). UHMWPE has notably high abrasion resistance, in some forms being 15 times more resistant than carbon steel. Its coefficient of friction is significantly lower, comparable to that of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, Teflon), yet with better abrasion resistance. Its melting point is around 130 to 136°C (266 to 277°F), and it is not advisable to use UHMWPE fibers at temperatures exceeding 80 to 100°C (176 to 212°F) for long periods of time. It becomes brittle at temperatures below −150°C (−240°F). Under tensile load, UHMWPE will deform continually as long as the stress is present—an effect called creep.

UNPLASTICISED POLYVINYL CHLORIDE / uPVC / RPVC / RIGID PVC

Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride (uPVC) or Rigid PVC (sometimes abbreviated as RPVC), is a phthalate and BPA free and rigid product of Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It has strong resistance against chemicals, sunlight, and oxidation from water it is extensively used in the building and construction industry as a low-maintenance material for pipe and in profile applications such as doors and windows. The material comes in a range of colours and finishes, including a photo-effect wood finish, and is used as a substitute for painted wood, mostly for window frames and sills when installing double glazing in new buildings, or to replace older single-glazed windows. Other uses include fascia, and siding or weatherboarding. This material has almost entirely replaced the use of cast iron for plumbing and drainage, being used for waste pipes, drainpipes, gutters and downspouts. uPVC is also used for bottles, other non-food packaging, and cards (such as bank or membership cards).

CHLORINATED POLYVINYL CHLORIDE / CPVC

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC), is a thermoplastic produced by chlorination of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. Uses include hot and cold water pipe, and industrial liquid handling. CPVC can withstand corrosive water at temperatures greater than PVC, typically 40 to 50°C (104 to 122°F) or higher, contributing to its popularity as a material for water piping systems in residential as well as commercial construction. The principal mechanical difference between CPVC and PVC is that CPVC is significantly more ductile, allowing greater flexure and crush resistance. Additionally, the mechanical strength of CPVC makes it a viable candidate to replace many types of metal pipe in conditions where metal’s susceptibility to corrosion limits its use. CPVC is similar to PVC in resistance to fire. It is typically very difficult to ignite and tends to self-extinguish when not in a directly applied flame. Due to its chlorine content, the incineration of CPVC, either in a fire or in an industrial disposal process, can result in the creation of chlorinated dioxins.

ACRYLONITRILE BUTADIENE STYRENE / ABS

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is a light weight thermoplastic polymer. Used in manufacturing, especially injection molded and extruded products, such as drain-waste-vent (DWV) pipe systems, automotive trim components and bumper bars, medical devices, electrical and electronic assemblies enclosures, protective headwear, whitewater canoes, furniture buffer edging and joinery panels, luggage and protective carrying cases, small kitchen and household appliances, consumer goods, toys and musical instruments. ABS is resistant to aqueous acids, alkalis, concentrated hydrochloric and phosphoric acids, alcohols and animal, vegetable and mineral oils; swollen by glacial acetic acid, carbon tetrachloride and aromatic hydrocarbons; attacked by concentrated sulfuric and nitric acids; and soluble in esters, ketones, ethylene dichloride and acetone. ABS is a terpolymer making it stronger than pure polystyrene, styrene provides a shiny, impervious surface; polybutadiene, a rubbery substance, provides resilience. It is uniquely amorphous and therefore has no true melting point, for the majority of applications can be used between −20 and 80°C (−4 and 176°F). Its mechanical properties vary with temperature and can be influenced by processing conditions—molding at a high temperature improves gloss and heat resistance whereas low temperatures creates high impact resistance and strength. Fibers (usually glass) and other additives can be mixed in the resin pellets to make the final product strong and raise the operating range to as high as 80°C (176°F), (glass transition temperature is approximately 105°C (221°F)). Additionally, coloured pigments can be added to the translucent ivory to white raw material. It’s aging characteristics are largely determined by polybutadiene content and antioxidants in the composition. Other factors include exposure to ultraviolet radiation, for which additives are available to protect against.

POLYVINYLIDENE FLUORIDE / PVDF

Polyvinylidene Fluoride or Polyvinylidene Difluoride (PVDF), is a highly non-reactive and pure thermoplastic fluoropolymer. PVDF is a specialty plastic material in the fluoropolymer family; generally used in applications requiring the highest purity, strength, and resistance to solvents, acids, bases and heat and low smoke generation during a fire event. It is available as piping products, sheet, tubing, films, plate and an insulator for premium wire. A relatively low melting point of around 177°C (351°F) and low density (1.78g/cm3), makes it easily injected, molded or welded and commonly used in the chemical, semiconductor, medical and defense industries, as well as in lithium ion batteries. Used increasingly as a crosslinked closed cell foam in aviation and aerospace applications. A fine powder grade, KYNAR 500 PVDF or HYLAR 5000 PVDF, is also used as the principal ingredient of high-end paints for metals. These paints have extremely good gloss and colour retention, and are in use on commercial and residential metal roofing.