Injection moldable thermoplastic materials

The physical properties of injection moldable materials vary from the soft flexibility of gum rubber to the brittleness of glass; temperature resistance varies from complete softening and dissolving in hot water to an ability to withstand a brief exposure to flame.  Costs vary from a few cents to several dollars a pound.

The decision as to which material to use for an application need not be a difficult one since over ninety percent of thermoplastic parts used are made from no more than a dozen basic materials.  Often a part can be successfully made from any one of a number of available materials.  Listed in this section are the most commonly used thermoplastics with a brief description of their most notable characteristics and uses.

  • ABS 
    ABS - A.B.S. is a copolymer - mixture of acrylic, butadiene, and styrene.
  • Acetal 
    Acetal - Parts which must maintain a springiness such as latches and snap catches are usually made of acetal since it strives to retain its molded shape.
  • Acrylic 
    Acrylic - This material has good optical clarity.
  • Nylon 
    Nylon - As any ardent fisherman will know, nylon is a tough material with a high resistance to abrasion.
  • Phenylene Oxide
    Phenylene Oxide - This is a high-temperature resistant material used for electrical components such as switch holdings and junction boxes.

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  • Polycarbonate
    Polycarbonate - This material is extremely tough. Impact resistance is its real asset.
  • Polyester 
    Polyester - Polyester is dimensionally stable and has low moisture absorption.
  • Polyethylene 
    Polyethylene - Many food containers used in the home are polyethylene.
  • Polypropylene 
    Polypropylene - This is the lowest density common plastic.
  • Polysulfone 
    Polysulfone - Polysulfone is strong, rigid and has a very high heat-deflection temperature along with excellent electrical properties.
  • Styrene 
    Styrene - It has low resistance to chemicals and heat, will solvent bond easily.
  • Urethane 
    Urethane - The wear resistance of this material is often many times that of rubber compounds.
  • Vinyl 
    Vinyl - Most electrical wire coverings and plugs are made of vinyl.

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