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Repairs & DIY with Plastic

Repairs & DIY with PlasticWe receive lots of enquiries about using plastic to repair, fix, mend and replace many different types of broken items as well as tackling improvement projects.  There seem to be quite a few people out there with broken picture / photograph frames, fridge shelves, cat and dog flaps, windows and greenhouses to name a few so we'll dedicate this space to writing about how you can use plastic to fix these problems as well as popular DIY plastic projects.Plastic is a very versatile material - and the various types of plastic come with their own price, strength, durability, maintenance, and aesthetic considerations. Our quick guide below shows which plastic is best suited for which repairs.Broken picture / photograph framesClear acrylic is a great choice as a replacement for the broken glass in a picture or photograph frame. Clear acrylic is 10x stronger than glass and withstands more knocks and bumps, so you can be sure it will be a safer, longer lasting option than glass.Fridge ShelvesIf you've broken your fridge shelf, replacing it is quick, easy and inexpensive with PETG plastic. PETG is the plastic to choose because it is FDA approved meaning it is safe to use with food. PETG can be delivered cut to the size you need to go into your fridge. You'll find it's most likely at least half or a third of the price of buying a replacement.Windows & GreenhousesPlastic is an ideal replacement for glass glazing because it is much lighter and stronger. Choose acrylic which is 10x stronger than glass, excellent for withstanding heavy impacts and just as clear or polycarbonate which is 200x stronger than glass and virtually unbreakable. Both acrylic and polycarbonate are suitable as a replacement for internal and external glass. If you are looking to replace greenhouse panels our preference is for polycarbonate because it is stronger than acrylic and overall makes your greenhouse virtually unbreakable.Cat and Dog FlapsPolypropylene and polycarbonate are good choices for replacing cat and dog flaps. If you want a clear flap go for polycarbonate it is clear like glass but much lighter and yet 200x stronger. It also withstands all manner of impacts and bumping! If don't want a clear flap, go for a solid white (or natural / black) polypropylene. Polypropylene is an extremely tough, durable plastic with excellent impact resistance and is almost unbreakable. Noise ReductionIf outside noise from trains, buses, cars, people etc is filtering into your home, installing a secondary window pane is an easy and practical way to help reduce it. You’ll also benefit from a warmer room and reduced energy bills without the associated expensive double-glazing costs.Installing a second window (secondary glazing) may seem like a complicated task but check out acrylic Magnetglaze which makes it a very easy, inexpensive and quick improvement to do yourself.  This popular project has rave reviews from customers which you can read on independent site Trustpilot. Joining and Gluing AcrylicIf you have a project which requires acrylic to be joined together we hope this blog will help you.  From all the conversations we have with customers about this topic first thing to say is that Acrylic can't be glued together with adhesive. The best way to glue acrylic sheets together is with a chemical solvent called Acrylic Cement. This process is known as solvent welding. It creates a very strong and secure bond because the acrylic sheets are not glued together but are welded together instead (the Acrylic Cement softens the acrylic so the pieces reform and become one piece). 3 Important Points About Working With Acrylic Cement:Because Acrylic Cement is a chemical solvent you should always take proper precautions and wear gloves and safety goggles when using it.Take care not to spill any of the solvent - this will mar the acrylic sheets.If you spill the solvent, let it evaporate. Don't wipe it up.How To Make JoinsTake a close look at your acrylic to check for rough edges. The edges need to be as smooth as possible so they can touch which enables the cement to work. You can get a smooth finish on your acrylic pieces by lightly sanding the side that you will be gluing down. If you have any gaps between opposite edges, the cement is less effective making your finished structure weak. If you can't get your edges smooth you can secure them together using Viscous Cement instead although this is not as good a method. Clamp or tape the acrylic pieces into the positions you would like to glue them into or have somebody hold them - allowing space to apply the cement.Use a needle-nose applicator bottle to apply the acrylic cement to the acrylic pieces. Run a bead of Acrylic Cement along each seam. Acrylic Cement is a self-wicking liquid, so once you run the bead along the seam, the cement will run between the pieces and begin to dissolve the acrylic, forming a strong bond immediately.Let your acrylic project cure for 24-48 hours before removing the clamps / tape and before using the object.For acrylic pieces cut ready to your sizes visit our main website.  Bending acrylicAcrylic can be bent if it is heated.  When it cools down, it will hold its shape.To bend acrylic at home, you will need to heat it up with something like a strip heater and some clamps to hold your acrylic into your chosen shape. A strip heater has a heating element running between two tubes that are water cooled. The tubes hold the acrylic sheet in place and you should be able to adjust them to the thickness of your acrylic sheet.Here's our 4-step guide to bending acrylic:1. Remove the protective film on your acrylic before you heat it. If you leave it on, it is likely to be very difficult to remove after heating.2. Let your strip heater get hot then insert your acrylic between the tubes of the strip heater so that the tubes are at the place where you want to bend your acrylic sheet. A 1/4-inch-thick piece of acrylic can usually be completely heated at about 300 degrees for about 8 minutes. Try some test bends to work out the best settings.3. Bend your acrylic into the shape you want. Bend slowly -your acrylic is less likely to snap with slower movements - and bend away from the heated side (this side has more give to it and is less likely to crack).4. Use clamps and weights to hold your acrylic in the shape you want. Keep your acrylic in place while it cools - open air is fine or you can use a cooling jig. Quick improvements with acrylicAcrylic is an amazing safe alternative to glass. Much lighter in weight and 100 x stronger than glass, acrylic is found in many of our homes as furniture such as coffee tables and side tables, splashbacks, furniture protectors and mirrors.  If you would like to bring a touch of glamour and / or protection to your rooms, acrylic is a great choice and to show you what we mean, here are a few of the projects our customers have completed using acrylic that we have cut to the size and shapes they’ve required.  Add a little polishing around the edges of the acrylic and there's gleaming and shining to impress.Smartening up your tables is easy - for a high end look, use 4mm acrylic or 5mm acrylic cut to the size of your table with polished edges.Precious, much loved items can be brought into every day use with acrylic over them as protection. With a little imagination you can even turn an unused space into a design feature. We love what this customer did with her window space.

The Differences Between Acrylic and Polycarbonate

The Differences Between Acrylic and PolycarbonateAcrylic vs PolycarbonateAcrylic and polycarbonate are two of the most popular clear plastics. They provide different benefits (and drawbacks). In summary the benefits are: acrylic is stiffer, shinier, more scratch resistant and cheaper than polycarbonate which is bendier and virtually unbreakable. Their drawbacks are: acrylic can crack/shatter under impact and polycarbonate is easier to scratch. For a more detailed comparison it helps to consider individual criteria relevant to your needs.  Here are some of the key areas to compare when choosing between acrylic and polycarbonate for your project.  We hope it helps – if you need more advice drop our friendly team an email. Strength – which is strongest?Acrylic and Polycarbonate are both half the weight of a comparably sized piece of glass and yet both plastics are much stronger than glass providing much greater imoact resistance.  Polycarbonate is stronger than acrylic. That aside, both are very strong.If you are comparing to glass, acrylic has 10 times the impact resistance of glass. Polycarbonate has 250 times the impact resistance of glass.Acrylic is very rigid whereas polycarbonate can be bought in flexible grades. Acrylic cracks more easily than polycarbonate under stress.police riot shields are made from virtually indestructibe polycarbonateLight – which has better clarity?Acrylicoffers better clarity than glass, letting in more light with a light transmittance of 92% compared to  polycarbonate which has a light transmittance of 88%.  Both are used successfully for glazing – for example, polycarbonate is often used in bus shelter glazing as it is so strong and both acrylic and polycarbonate are used for secondary glazing.Acrylic can be polished to restore its clarity, while polycarbonate cannot be polished. secondary glazing – use either acrylic or polycarbonateWorking with Acrylic & PolycarbonateAcrylic can be used at temperatures ranging from -30 degrees Fahrenheit to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. It may expand and contract with changes in temperature although it won’t permanently shrink over time.Polycarbonate can handle temperatures up to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Polycarbonate is also highly resistant to chemicals such as gasoline and acids.Which is easier to cut?Both acrylic and polycarbonate can be cut with conventional tools such as saws or routers, though acrylic cuts easier than polycarbonate. Polycarbonate fights the initial push of a saw or router at the start of a cut. Learn more about cutting plastics here.Which is easier to drill?Acrylic will crack if it is drilled near an edge or with a drill bit not designed for plastic. Polycarbonate typically does not crack when being drilled even if drilled close to the edge with a standard drill bit.Which polishes up better?The edges of acrylic can be polished smooth and to a high shine. Polycarbonate cannot be polished.polished acrylic takes on a glossy appearanceWhich is easier to bend?Heat bending works better with acrylic than polycarbonate. Polycarbonate can be cold formed or bent without heating.Which is easier to glue?Gluing with cements designed for acrylic and polycarbonate, acrylic gives a cleaner glue joint than polycarbonate.Which is easier to keep clean?Both acrylic and polycarbonate are easy to clean. The best choice for cleaning is a micro fibre or 100% cotton cloths (no other types!).  Acrylic should only be cleaned with warm soap water or an acrylic cleaner.  Chemicals should never be used on acrylic. Polycarbonate has a higher chemical resistance than acrylic; it can be cleaned by harsher cleaners containing chemicals such as ammonia.Neither plastic should be cleaned with solvents.Which is more durable?Both acrylic and polycarbonate are weather resistant and expand and contract with temperature changes without long-term or permanent shrinkage.Both acrylic and polycarbonate can scratch, so avoid touching them with anything made from abrasive binding agents.Acrylic is more likely to chip than polycarbonate because it is less impact-resistant. It does not scratch as easily, however, and will not yellow over time.Polycarbonate has low flammability, while acrylic will burn slowly and is not recommended in areas where flames may be present.Which is cheaper?Acrylic is cheaper to than Polycarbonate.Polycarbonate tends to cost about 35% more. Compares prices here acrylic vs polycarbonate.

Where Do You Buy Your Plastic Stock Shapes?

Where Do You Buy Your Plastic Stock Shapes?The art and science of distribution is often discussed in day-to-day business in just about every market, but some may feel that they do not see it in practice often enough in the market place. Today, as markets become more competitive than ever, it has become an everyday occurrence to see the channel partners in the supply chain reposition themselves from being a channel supplier to a “value-added” partner (in other words: a competitor).This shift is happening in many industries like our plastics stock industry, and the whole idea confuses us. Who are they really adding value to? It’s not to the job shops that buy from them who make a living machining parts to a print. It’s not to the material manufacturer whose products they do not have in stock to service the market beyond their own “value-added” demand.We often wonder how many metal distributors would survive in today’s market place if they started to make metal parts and sell them in the local market? Who do you really want to choose to do business with, a partner or a competitor?For years, Plastics International has been warning job shops about Coyote Plastics, a ficticious plastics company that represents all of the “distributors” in the indutry who also compete with you, their own customers in the local market place for machining business.Coyote Plastics is run by the ruthless Bossman and his loyal employee Eddie. These two are out to sell you a sheet of plastic or two until they can figure out who your customer is and go direct. They will never tell you they are your competitors. The approach may sound something like a “full service” or “value-added” supplier with ideas around those words.

Fear and Insanity in the World of Plastics Machining

Fear and Insanity in the World of Plastics MachiningWe have all heard the old saying: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Sometimes, we secretly can hope for things to be different. Fear can get in the way of making that hope a reality. We all know that fear can either motivate great change or cause great paralysis. Sometimes, fear can keep us taking a course of action we know deep down inside could make things better.As it relates to machining plastics, many job shops keep machining the same material for the same application the same way just because that’s the way it’s always been done, even though the scrap rates are too high, the machine time is too long, and the material is always hard to find (this last one may not apply to one of our customers!). If you’ve grown to accept situations like these, please stop, and let some one know. Get help! The advances in technology and material science may offer a newer, faster, better way to do what you need to do with your process or application. Here at Plastics International our inventory and offering is constantly changing to reflect the changes in the market and the available technology of current material manufacturing. Sometimes what seemed impossible last year, last month, or last week is now the new standard.

What Makes a Plastic Food Grade?

What Makes a Plastic Food Grade?It’s amazing today how many things are made using some sort of plastic material. Every day items from electronics to security products to health and wellness products, they all benefit in some way from plastic materials. Sometimes the benefits are cost related, other benefits might be design or physical properties related. For whatever the reason, there seems to be no end to the countless uses of plastic materials in our modern society.When we consider the applications where plastics are used, what is the difference between the plastics in an everyday household item and the type of material we might see going into a food application? Food grade does not mean that it is edible. It also is different from environmentally friendly, sustainable, or biodegradable. Food grade means the material (like plastics) can come in direct contact with the food we consume as part of the harvesting, processing, or packaging of the food. There are several things that go into qualifying a plastics as a food grade material. An item can be certified by the FDA, NSA, or 3A Dairy as some examples . These compliance agencies oversee these activities in the US, while in Europe there is a slightly different process. Europe looks at things a little differently by focusing also on doing migration testing. This means that FDA and European standards for food grade plastic differ and are not direct cross reference to each other.In the US, it all starts with a compliance agency like the FDA taking a close look at the chemical composition of the plastic material. They want to make sure there is nothing in the material that can harm the food supply. In addition, if anything affects the color, odor, or taste of the food, it will automatically fail the compliance rating. Next they take a close look at how the plastic material performs from a conditions of use standpoint. Things like how the material handles temperature ranges, alcohols, and greases are evaluated and documented. Conditions that may limit use are noted and cataloged for future reference.Once a material has been approved for direct food contact or food grade use, now the plastic material needs to be run by a reliable manufacturer who is ISO 9000 certified and practices good manufacturing processes. This ensures that they are not only using high quality materials but are also processing them via a high quality process that will provide a safe product. Once a material is manufactured to the required specifications, certifications are generated and the final material supplier must be capable of maintaining chain of custody between the material and its applicable certifications. Having the right material on the shelf with the right certifications and compliance paperwork will ensure that your fabricated part will met the end users specifications.

What is Casting?

What is Casting?Casting involves introducing a liquefied plastic into a mold and allowing it to solidify. In contrast to molding and extrusion, casting relies on atmospheric pressure to fill the mold rather than using significant force to push the plastic into the mold cavity. Some polymers have a viscosity similar to bread dough even when they are at elevated temperature so they are not candidates for the casting process. Examples of this are polymers like POM, PC, PP and many others. Casting includes a number of processes that take a monomer, powder or solvent solution and pur them into a mold. They transition from liquid to solid by either evaporation, chemical action, cooling or external heat. The final product can be removed from the mold once it solidifies.Casting has several advantages:-Cost of equipment, tooling and molds are low.-The process is not complex.-Products have little or no internal stress.Casting can have some disadvantages:-The output rate is slow and has long cycle times.-Dimensional tolerances are not very good.-Moisture and air bubbles can be difficult to manage and may cause problems.

Why can’t I get that color in plastic?

Why can’t I get that color in plastic?One of the cool things about plastics over traditional materials is the variety of colors it can be made in. Everyone can relate to something that was made out of a plastic in some sort of cool color that made their product standout. In the graphics or decorative world of plastics, colors are somewhat easy to come by and are readily available. In the engineering plastics world, colors are very much a luxury. Black and Natural (technically white in color for many materials) are the extent of the variety unless you get into very exotic medical grade materials. If you really need a color though, this can get expensive in a hurry and it is still hard to find.The reason colors can be difficult has to do with how many materials are made. In order to get a color, you need to mix enough material in color to fill the “hoppers” of very large capacity manufacturing equipment. In addition, when you transition from one color to the next, there is a large amount of waste generated as equipment purges the previous color and eventually gets to the proper color with no contamination. This just adds costs and time that can make colors in some materials unaffordable or practical to make.For this reason, copolymer acetal is now being made in a blue color to break away from the everyday, black and white world. The material is standard copolymer acetal, with no special medical grade compliance to add to the cost.

Metal Detectable or X-Ray Detectable: Which is the Better Plastic for the Job?

Metal Detectable or X-Ray Detectable: Which is the Better Plastic for the Job?As the speed increases for the way food is harvested, processed and packaged in the market place, there is an ever-increasing need to make sure all of these processes are happening in a containment free environment to ensure the quality and safety of the food we consume. We often hear of countless stories of how a company had a huge recall because some contaminants went undetected and made it into the market place. Depending on the products being processed, the equipment and systems being used, companies have either preferred to use metal detectors to ensure the quality of their products. Others have chosen to use X-ray technology to accomplish the same thing. Many also add visual inspection equipment as well in different areas of their process. The challenge has grown considering the extensive use of plastics for mating wear parts in these high speed, automated processes to help equipment perform at higher speeds, and higher efficiency. Conventional plastics are impossible to detect using these standard methods due to their color or make up. Recently, plastic stock shape manufacturers have developed materials that are either metal detectable or X-ray detectable for approved use in direct food contact processing applications.Material selection would then depend on what detection technology was being used for the process in quesiton. In addition to FDA/3A Dairy compliance, good dimensional stability, and resistance to CIP (clean-in-place) chemical washdown, we also need to narrow down which material also matches up well with the detection technology. In order to make the selection process easier and also make parts interchangeable, Plastics International is now offering an Ultra Detectable Blue material that is perfect for a large number of food industry applications. This revolutionary new Ultra Detectable Blue acetal copolymer material can be detected in food processes in one of three ways:Via metal detection equipmentVia x-ray equipmentVia optical scanners (because of the blue color)This new material can machine easily into the part of your choice along with offering the ability to be detected as chunks as small as 3mm thick or shavings up to 1 mm thick (using standard metal detection equipment). So weather you are designing a scraper blade, forming plate, filler valve, cam follower or bushing or bearing, consider the value-added Ultra Detectable Blue (UD-Blue) can offer you in your food processing application.

What is Injection Molding?

What is Injection Molding?Injection molding is by far the primary process for converting plastics into useful plastic widgets. Just about all of us touch an injection molded widget every hour of every day. All thermoplastics can be injection molded with a few exceptions like polyimides and PTFE to name a few. Injection molding takes pelletized materials and heats them up to the point where they can flow properly through the injection process. The hot, molten material is then injected into a closed mold to create the desired part or shape. Then, after the part cools, the part is removed from the mold.Advantages of injection molding:-Extremely high output rates.– Inserts and fillers can be used with this process.– Process can be completely automated and run with little downtime.– Scrap from the process can be ground and reused into the process.– Small, complex parts can be molded economically.Disadvantages:-No cost effective for short runs.-Large capital investment in equipment and overhead required.-Molds can be very expensive requiring large runs to justify ROI of tooling.-Requires a high degree of design and process expertise and experience to produce good parts and have low scrap rates.-Thick cross sections can not be easily or reliable produced.Injection molding will always be the number one way that large volume plastic parts are produced. When a part volume is too small or need to be tested before a final investment is made in tooling, machiend plastic stock shapes are the go to method for producing reliable plastic parts.

What is Compression Molding?

What is Compression Molding?Compression molding is a common process used for both thermoplastic and thermoset stock shape materials. Compression molding is accomplished by placing the plastic material (can be a granular or pelletized form) in a mold cavity to be formed by heat and pressure. The process is someone similar to making waffles. The heat and pressure force the materials into all areas of the mold. The heat and pressure cycle of the process will harden the material and then it can be removed.Typically, thermosetting compounds like polyesters, phenolics, melamines and other resin systems are compression molded using alternating layers of different reinforcement materials to create a final product. However, there are various thermoplastics that are commercially compression molded as well.Advantages of injection molding:– Extremely low to zero residual stress left in stock shape.– Can economically provide large parts.– Tooling costs are relatively low.Disadvantages:– Flask may require trimming, can be sharp.– Cycle times can be slow, a factor in producing larger volume orders.– Can be higher priced than extruded products (when comparing thermoplastics).Compression molding is a valuable tool where it has a fit. Obviously for thermosets, it is a primary process but in thermoplastics it can often times be useful in creating a base stock shape to machine extremely complex geometries without having to take excessive time and steps to anneal parts. This can increase production cycle time and reduce overall cost while delivering exceptional finished parts.

What is laminating?

What is laminating?Lamination occurs when two or more layers of material are put together by either cohesion or adhesion. Plastic laminates are usually various layers of material held together by some sort polymer or plastic material. Laminates and reinforced plastics can be difficult to distinguish from reinforced plastics because the layers often provide strength and reinforcement as well to the base plastic material. The primary way to tell the two products apart is that laminates are usually made up of layers of material. Laminates are also primarily made in to flat sheet or tubes and rods versus reinforced plastics can be molded into complex shapes or geometries.There are many types of laminates processes to consider. Processes like co-extrusion are technically a laminate. Many different materials can be laminated together as is the case in bullet resistant polycarbonate which is made up of polycarbonate, acrylic and some sort of urethane interlayer. Another process yields what are considered either low pressure laminates or high pressure laminates. For the purpose of this article we will focus on high pressure laminates, also called high pressure laminates.A paper, fabric or cloth are usually saturated or impregnated in a plastic resin system of some kind of thermosetting resin system like melamine, phenolic, polyester or epoxy. Originally high pressure laminates found applications as counter top material. Today, these materials are being used in much more dynamic applications like printed circuit boards, gears and pulleys and the like.A major disadvantage of high-pressure laminates is the slow production process compared to other plastics technology processes. However, the properties of the material in regards to strength and stiffness at elevated temperature can be a useful product in solving certain challenging applications.

Finding the Sweet Spot in Plastic Cutting Tools

Finding the Sweet Spot in Plastic Cutting ToolsThere are a number of factors to consider when setting up to machine plastics.  Most importantly, plastic has a higher thermal expansion rate than most other materials, such as metal or wood products.  Thermal expansion is the tendency of the material to change volume in response to the heat introduced during the formation of chips created during the cutting process.   Reducing thermal expansion is key to producing clean and effective cutting in any plastic cutting operation.Following are some key tips to reducing thermal expansion and improving your cutting success.  The first thing to consider is tool geometry and quality.  This is true for any type of cutting tool:  Router bits, saw blades and wing-type cutters.  For this article we will be discussing router bits, but the techniques discussed are applicable across the board.Plastics fall into two main categories: Hard and Soft.  Harder plastics, or those with a higher durometer rating, generally have a lower rate of thermal expansion.  Softer plastics will obviously have the opposite properties.  Softer plastics tend to be more difficult to cut due to the fact that it will tend to “push” out of the way of the cutting edge of the tool, increasing friction and thus heat, introduced to the chip formation.  When the threshold of heat exceeds the melting point of the material the chips being formed, the chips will melt causing a problem.Generally we select tooling with higher shear or helix angle when cutting softer plastics.  The higher shear angle can reduce cutting pressure, thus reduce heat created.  However, factors such as material thickness and hold down will limit the ability to introduce high shear tools into the cut.One thing we have recently introduced to our line of plastics bits is a highly polished flute.  High polish dramatically reduces friction created during the cut.  This will create cleaner cuts in most applications.Selecting the proper chip load is another important factor for proper cutting.  Hitting the “Sweet Spot” is one of the most critical factors for successfully cutting.  The window for the proper chip load is much smaller for plastics than in any other material.  Typically, one or two thousandths of an inch will make the difference for plastics where wood, for example, can machine well across tens of thousandths of an inch.  Chips load is calculated using the following formula:Chip Load = Feed Rate (IPM)/(# Cutting Teeth X RPM)Chip loads for plastics are generally between .004” to .008”.  The important point is that plastics will have a very small “window” of acceptable chip load and all conditions of the cut will factor into what chip load will be successful in a particular application.  Learn to calculate chip loads in your application and make small incremental adjustments to “Dial in” what works best for your particular application.Tool deflection is another factor that needs to be addressed in order to reduce friction created at the cutting site.  Router tooling, cutting tool diameter, geometry and tool holding all play a role.  In general, larger tool diameter will deflect less, thus reducing tool deflection.  Work with your supplier to select the best tool geometry/diameter that will work for your application.  The tool itself is driven by the tool holding device.  There are numerous options for driving your cutting tool.  The important point is to realize that the more substantial your tool holding is, the better the results you will see in cutting.The final area to consider to improve your cut quality is “Part Hold Down”.  Again, the more rigidly the part is held, the better your results will be.  When fixturing parts, it is imperative that the part be held securely as close to the cutting site as possible.  This is especially true for thinner materials.  If the part can fluctuate due to part instability, it can make the difference between a good cut quality and a poor one.  In a vacuum hold down situation you want your gasket seal as close to the cut edge as possible.  If you are clamping parts, the same is true.  Basically, the more you invest in fixturing, the better your results will be.In closing, to increase your cut quality in plastics there are four things to concentrate on.  First: select the proper tool with the optimal tool geometry for your application.  Second: make sure that your tool is run at the optimal parameters for your application (feed rate).  Third: Review your tool holding devices and make sure to optimize as best you can.  And finally, make sure your parts are held in the best way possible.

What are the ingredients in plastics?

What are the ingredients in plastics?Plastic materials offer a wide variety of properties and design flexibility that have made them the material of choice for making many different products. From injection molded toys to machined bearings or bushings, plastics are allowing for creative ideas to become realities in a more affordable way to solve difficult problems. There are times when a plastic material by itself, may not be able to meet all of the demands of particular application. When an alternative material becomes cost prohibitive or will not work either, there are some options that can make the palstic material suitable for use.Different things can be introduced to help enhance a specific property or set of properties to help the plastics sheet, rod, tube or film bridge the gap in performance. In this article, we will endeavor to explain and/or clarify some commonly used and confused terms.Additives:Additives are a general term referring to anything added to a plastic.  This term covers both fillers and reinforcements. The term additives refers to a wide range of chemicals that are added to plastics. The major categories of additives are antioxidants, antistatic agents, colorants, coupling agents, curing agents, flame retardants, foaming/blowing agents, heat stabilizers, impact modifiers, lubricants, nucleating agents, plasticizers, preservatives, processing aids and UV stabilizers. Most additives are compounded into base material prior to manufacturing.Reinforcements:Reinforcements are used to improve tensile strength, flex strength and stiffness of a material. There are many reasons for adding reinforcements. One important reason is to produce dramatic improvements in the physical properties of the base material. Reinforcements are often confused with fillers. Fillers are small particles and contribute only slightly to strength (see next section). On the other hand, reinforcements are ingredients that increase strength, impact resistance and stiffness. One major reason for the confusion is that some materials may act as a filler, reinforcement or both.Fillers:Fillers are things added to plastics to control other properties such as impact modifiers, lubricants, glass beads, MoS2 and the like. The term filler is often confusing. Filler was originally selected to describe any additive used to fill space in the polymer to lower cost. Because some fillers can be more expensive that the base material, the word extender can be misleading. The terms dilutant and enhancer are sometimes used to describe the addition of fillers. Ambiguity of terms and and overlapping of function add to the problem. For our purposes, a filler will mean any minute particle from various sources, functions, composition and morphology.According to ASTM, a filler is a relatively inert material added to a plastic to modify its strength, permanence, working properties or other qualities or to lower costs. Fillers can be both organic and inorganic ingredients of plastic resins. They can increase bulk or viscosity, replace more costly ingredients, reduce mold shrinkage and improve physical properties of the composite item.

How does PVC help to conserve natural resources and combat climate change?

How does PVC help to conserve natural resources and combat climate change?Because PVC is intrinsically a low-carbon material which consumes less primary energy than many other materials and is easy to recycle. Also, most PVC products are very long lasting and require a minimum of maintenance and repair. For instance, the service life of PVC water and sewage piping is more than 100 years. And modern cars last many years longer simply because PVC protects the underside from water and corrosion.