Understanding Thermoplastic Polymers

Thermoplastic polymers are easily moldable into virtually any shape when heated to an exact temperature and return to a solid when cooled. This makes them an extremely flexible plastic for many different industries, parts, and uses. However, thermoplastic polymers can weaken when subjected to heat, and that’s important to keep in mind when designing with this plastic.

What happens when thermoplastic polymers are heated?
When heated, the space between the molecules increases, which is what makes it flexible and increases pliability. With a high heat, these molecules can melt into a liquid, making this plastic a great option for extrusion, injection, compression, or calendaring molding.

When they “melt” they turn into a gel-like substance (technically a liquid that can somewhat hold a shape). This plastic is so great that even repeated melting and cooling doesn’t degrade of decompose the material. The molecular bonds just become loose, but never break.

Thermoplastic doesn’t change its’ chemical make-up when melted or cooled either. It’s like water because its chemical formula never changes when it goes from a solid to a liquid.

As a plastic that, aside from it’s molded shape, never changes or degrades on a chemical level, it has so many unique benefits that other plastics don’t have. It’s able to withstand high temperatures, corrosion, abrasion, toxic chemicals, friction, and exposure to the harsh environments.

If you’re interested in using extruded thermoplastics in your next project, talk to us and we can help you find the right thermoplastic material for your project.

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