Types of plastic raw materials?

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Plastic raw materials come in many forms and types, each with different properties. Plastics are organic polymers made from hydrocarbons, and can be classified as thermoplastics or thermosetting plastics. Manufacturers choose plastic based on the physical requirements of their product, with different plastics suitable for different applications. The form of plastic used is also influenced by the type of molding equipment used.

There are hundreds of different types of plastic raw materials. Additionally, each type of plastic can vary in certain specifications, such as density and strength. By definition, plastics can be molded, so most plastic commodities come in various forms. The choice of plastic rolls, sheets or pellets is usually determined by the type of molding machines used by product manufacturers. The choice of plastic compound to use depends on the desired properties in the finished product.

Plastic is an organic polymer. Chemically, most are very long chains of repeating hydrocarbons, consisting exclusively or mainly of hydrogen and carbon atoms. There are some plastics, still relevant to modern civilization, made from very natural organic sources. Rubber is made from the sap of a plant; celluloid is made from cellulose, the ingredient that gives all plants their structural form. Most of the plastic in the modern world has been made from petroleum or natural gas.

Recyclable plastics are called thermoplastics because their chemical structures are the same in both solid and hot melt states. Less common thermosetting plastics establish their permanent structures once they solidify. Plastic raw materials can also be classified according to whether their polymers line up in an ordered, quasi-crystalline matrix, or in a more random or amorphous structure.

When it comes to plastic raw materials, a manufacturer’s purchasing decision is primarily based on the physical requirements of the product they are making. There are many different types of plastic precisely because each one has a different mix of properties. Single-use polyethylene (PE) bags are relatively lightweight, but tolerate a great deal of stretch before tearing easily. High-density polyethylene (HDPE), on the other hand, is suitable for making into beverage bottles. Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is particularly cold tolerant and is often used in furniture and building materials.

At the other end of the scale, polyamides (PA) such as Nylon® variants can withstand very high temperatures and are therefore used for applications such as insulation and mechanical parts. Other technical specifications of a given plastic include its flexibility and elasticity. These variables determine whether a product should be made with polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or another plastic. Some types of specialized plastics have been custom formulated to individual product specifications.

Plastic raw materials come in many different forms, and this choice is also partly made on the intended product. Bags are made of rolls, for example. More often than not, the choice is influenced by the type of molding equipment employed by the manufacturer. Raw plastic in sheet form is required for compression and vacuum molding equipment, while rods and bricks are fed into most extrusion molding machines. Small pellets, which are usually the form of any recycled plastic supply, are the preferred form for injection molding equipment.

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