Types of Materials used in the Plastic Industry

beggers September 1, 2014 0
Types of Materials used in the Plastic Industry

Plastic materials have been in use for a good number of years in a number of industries. From the aerospace industry to the automotive industry, engineering, mining, medical, and defence, among others, plastic moulds and parts have a significant role to play.

If you are planning to have plastic parts and moulds designed for a specific use in your particular industry or sector, it always pays to know what you can about what you need. As they say, knowledge is everything – and when it comes to plastic materials, the right knowledge results in the right decisions.

Following is a description of various materials that are available to you:

The Poly- materials

There are several types of poly- materials, namely polystyrene, polypropylene, polyethylene, polycarbonate, and polyester. All these materials have different properties, and some are more suitable for certain uses than others. Polystyrene, for one, can be used for general purposes, but it also has a distinction of being ideal for high impact use for enhanced toughness. Polystyrene is most commonly used for cutlery, model kits, disposable items, and toys.

Another material, polypropylene, is known for its toughness and resiliency to different chemicals, and it has a tensile strength that is comparable to about half that of another material, Zytel Nylon. It is mostly used for the production of handles for boxes, chairs, and crates for bottles.

Polyethylene, on the other hand, can be both flexible and rigid, depending on the density. It also has a good resistance to chemicals but has a low point of softening. Polyethylene is used for toys, bowls, buckets, dust covers, caps, and more.

Polyester, meanwhile, is known for its low absorption of moisture, its outstanding properties for electrical use, and its good resistance to chemicals. It has a good dimensional stability as well, and is often used in sockets, circuit carriers, gears, pump impellers, distributor caps, and bearings, among others.

The last poly- material, polycarbonate, is both tough yet transparent, and it is also known for its strength during high impact and its stability. It also has good properties when it comes to electrical use, and has a high resistance to heat. Polycarbonate is popularly used for lab equipment, electrical connectors, blades for propellers, tape cases for computers, and impeller pumps.

Zytel Nylon

Zytel Nylon, developed by Dupont, is known for being tough at both low and high temperatures, and is capable of handling repeated, high impact. It also has the ability to remain stiff and tensile even at high temperatures, and is resistant to solvents, abrasion, gasoline, and oils. Zytel Nylon is commonly used for gears, cable ties, bearings, fasteners, and electrical coils.


Acrylic is a well-known material often used for the creation of displays and advertising as well as lenses for optical use, windows, and light diffusers. As a material, it can either be coloured, opaque, or clear, and it is also suitable for printing on a screen.


Acetal is another material known for its rigidity and strength, especially in mechanical functions. It has a low absorption of moisture and is also resistant to chemicals and solvents. However, Acetal is not ideal for long-term use in hot water, steam, or stronger acids. It is mostly used as housing for gas regulators, gears for watches and clocks, and terminal blocks for electricity.

There are other materials that are available, and most would certainly suit your needs and requirements. Learn more about your choices in materials at www.dataplastics.co.uk.





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