Back to school: Thermoplastics 101

As the kids head back to school this month, we thought it would be a great idea to send you back to school too! To chemistry class to be precise. We’re going to talk about thermoplastics why they perform how they do.

Thermoplastics are a form of plastic polymer that becomes moldable at high temperatures and solidifies again when cooled. It can be repeatedly heated, reformed, and cooled indefinitely without losing its properties. However, if cooled to freezing temperatures, the plastic becomes quite brittle and fractures easily.

When the plastic is heated, the polymer chains weaken and create a viscous liquid. This liquid can then be molded using a variety of techniques, including extrusion, to produce a specific shape or part. Thermoplastic is made of repeating units called Monomers that are linked with chains and branches. These repeating units make this plastic easily shapeable.

From a chemical perspective, it doesn’t matter how many times the plastic is heated and cooled, it never loses its properties. It makes it an easily recyclable material that is more cost-effective than the “one-time-use” plastics.

There are dozens of different formulations of thermoplastics, each with its own unique characteristics and properties. At Plastifab we can help you dive deeper and find the perfect thermoplastic to meet or exceed your needs on your next project or part run. Contact us with details of your part needs to get started.

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