What is the IAPD Thermoplastics Rectangle?

If you’ve ever wondered which thermoplastic is the best for the job, the Thermoplastics Rectangle by the International Association of Plastics Distribution can help.

It breaks down several key characteristics of thermoplastics in an easy-to-read chart. It’s broken down into three categories: amorphous, crystalline, or imidized. Then the chart breaks down their key characteristics including cost, strength performance and many more qualities. Next to the general characteristics of each plastic category, are examples of specific thermoplastics that belong in that group.

There are seven sections of this chart:

  • Imidized
  • Amorphous High Performance Thermoplastics
  • Amorphous Engineering Thermoplastics
  • Amorphous Commodity Thermoplastics
  • Semi-Crystalline High Performance Thermoplastics
  • Semi-Crystalline Engineering Thermoplastics
  • Semi-Crystalline Commodity Thermoplastics

Imidized Plastics are at the top of the chart because they represent the highest cost, temperature and performance. They also have great electrical properties, dimensional stability and low coefficient of friction on bearing grades.

Amorphous Plastics and Semi-Crystalline Thermoplastics have variations that are low grade (Commodity Thermoplastics), moderate grade (Engineering Plastics), and higher grade (High Performance Thermoplastics).

Depending on your needs here’s which type of plastic to choose:

  • Easy to thermoform: Amorphous
  • Transparency: Amorphous
  • Easy bonding: Amorphous
  • Good resistance to stress: Semi-crystalline
  • Good fatigue resistance: Semi-crystalline
  • Better for bearing and wear applications: Semi-crystalline

To use the chart, look for the characteristics you need and you will be given a list of potentially suitable plastics that are likely to suit your needs.

We always suggest getting an expert opinion before you go too far down your fabrication road. We’d be happy to discuss your upcoming projects to help determine the best thermoplastic that fits your needs and budget.

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