Heat-resistant plastic?

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Heat resistant plastic is made of polymers created from petroleum and hydrocarbon atoms. Polymerization creates two types of plastics: thermoplastics and thermosets. They can be molded into various products, including engine components and fire fighting equipment. Thermoplastics can be recycled, while thermosets are heat-resistant and used in high heat applications. Additives can improve material properties.

Heat resistant plastic is a body of materials composed of synthetic chemicals, usually polymers, which create a variety of physical properties. Petroleum and hydrocarbon atoms are strung into long molecules called monomers, and straight or branched chains of these molecules can be combined into polymers of various two- or three-dimensional structures. This polymerization can create two varieties of plastics: thermoplastics and thermosets. Thermoplastics soften with heat and harden with cooling; thermosetting plastics harden after the first heating and form bonds with other plastic molecules that never soften again. The materials can be molded into a wide variety of products intended to resist heat, such as engine components, light fixture or housing, and fire fighting equipment.

Thermoplastics are typically melted and then molded. They hold their shape when they cool, but can be recycled by melting and reshaping the material into a new product. Such materials include such familiar products as polyethylene and polystyrene. Thermoset polymers, on the other hand, are a heat-resistant plastic that can soften but not flow, so they are normally formed and produced in one step. Examples include epoxies, melamine and polyester resins.

Many heat resistant plastic polymer materials exist in common and uncommon varieties. Thermoplastic materials include polycarbonates, polypropylene materials, and elastomers. Thermosets produce alkyds, esters and phenols. Other thermoplastic resins can be mixed with materials to form copolymers and can be referred to by their chemical names or by the more common names popularized by the companies that developed them. For example, acrylic sheet is sometimes called Plexiglas®, while polyimide may be better known as Lexan®.

Some heat resistant plastics are molded from thermoset materials for increased durability under extreme conditions. High heat applications in the home include products such as ashtrays and cookware. Industrial and military applications for thermosets can involve placements in electrical and electronic technologies. Manufacturing techniques include transfer, compression or injection molding. These processes allow for mass production with shorter production runs and lower costs.

Appearing in a wide range of product applications in modern manufacturing, heat resistant plastics are molded into products from common household technologies to high performance critical equipment. Bio-based and degradable varieties are also produced. These adhere to sanitary standards and are used in raw materials and compostable bags for organic waste.

Many polymers are compounded with additives to improve material properties. These can include reinforcing fibers, ultraviolet inhibitors and flame retardants. Their versatility allows for rigorous customization of conventional and innovative material properties.

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