Everywhere you look you will find plastics. We use plastic products to help make our lives cleaner, easier, safer and more enjoyable. Plastics are organic! The raw materials for plastics production are natural products such as cellulose, coal, natural gas and crude oil.
There are two main plastic groups –
Thermoplastics: which are softened by heat. Good examples are acrylic, polypropylene, polystyrene, polythene, ABS and PVC.
Thermosets: which are formed by heat process, but are then set (solid) and cannot change shape or soften by re-heating. Good examples are Bakelite and Polyester.
Nylon: very strong, nylon can be machined and will take a fine thread. It is also slippery and can be used to make washers, spacers and bushes. Nylons also have a natural ‘oily’ surface that can act as a natural lubricant.
Acrylic: There are two types of acrylic: extruded, which is cheaper and cast, which machines better but is harder and less flexible. Acrylics withstand weather and are stable in sunlight.
PVC and uPVC: Stiff, hard, tough lightweight plastic. uPVC is stabilised for outside use and is used for plastic windows and plastic pipes.
Bonding with uPVC, suggested grade Tecbond 261
Polyethylene This plastic has a range of uses from food packaging to gas pipes. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a hard rigid plastic used commonly for household chemical bottles such as bleach. A low-density grade (LDPE )is tough and flexible used for carrier bags, bin liners and packaging films. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) often used for Fizzy drink and water bottles, salad trays.
Polypropylene Polypropylene is a tough, cheap plastic and it has a slightly waxy feel. It can be bent repeatedly without breaking. Polypropylene and polyethylene are called “low energy” or “non-stick” plastics.
Polycarbonate Polycarbonate is a versatile, tough plastic used for a variety of applications, from bulletproof windows to compact disks (CDs). The main advantage of polycarbonate over other types of plastic is unbeatable strength combined with light weight properties.
Bakelite A thermosetting plastic which is dark brown. It was very popular during the 1940’s – 60’s for manufacturing items such as radios, more recent times used to make circuit boards and heat proof insulated parts in the electronics industry.
ABS high impact resistant plastic, good low and high temperature resistance. ABS materials provides a combination of mechanical toughness, wide temperature range, good dimensional stability, chemical resistance, electrical insulating properties, and ease of fabrication.
Polystyrene (PS), generally rigid and relatively inexpensive used for yoghurt pots, egg cartons, plastic cutlery, protective packaging and insulation material used in building and construction industries. High impact polystyrene grades (HIPS) are produced by adding rubber or butadiene copolymer which increases the toughness and impact strength of the polymer.
Our customers also asked
Q: How can you glue plastic safely?
A: Plastics are hugely diverse therefore each one needs to be treated differently. Try our glue selector, select the plastic you want to glue and read our product description. Our service and advice page answers lots of questions for you too.