In the industrial world, plastics as a term, covers the entire gamut of synthetic polymerized products. Plastics and plastic materials are organic, synthetic and processed polymer materials that generally consist of thermoplastic and thermosetting resins. Elasticity, hardness and heat tolerance are the key distinguishing factors of plastics. The materials are used in industrial applications for a wide variety of uses.
Plastics used for such applications are normally available in sheet, rod, plate, film, and tube format. An interesting feature of industrial grade plastics is that different grades of plastics can be used, depending on the application. For example, plastics used in engineering need to have a high degree of tensile strength, whereas plastics used in optics need to have a high degree of transmission capabilities.
However, a good industrial grade plastic needs to be viscose, has to avoid shrinkage, needs to be temperature resistant and more importantly, it has to be flexible. Plastics that are used in industrial applications are normally elastometers and polymers.
Some popular types of plastic materials are polyurethane, rubber, celluloid, parkesine, bakelite, polyethylene, silicone, acrylics, synthetic and rubber. Moreover, a new blend of plastics called thermoplastics, which are normally two different kinds of plastics that are molded together for a specific application, are getting increasingly popular. Elastomers are different from normal types of plastic materials as they are basically rubbery in nature and have high elastic elongation and resilience.
Depending on their specific type and grade, polymer materials may be fabricated into finished products by various processes and methods such as molding, casting, spinning or fiber drawing, thermoforming, extrusion, pultrusion, die cutting, and machining. There are numerous types of molding processes such as injection molding, compression molding, reaction injection molding, compression-injection and transfer molding.
Certain types of plastics and elastomers are ideal for specific applications and processes such as commodity plastics, engineering plastics, tooling or mold making materials, prototyping or pattern materials, optical grades, electrical or electronic grades, extrusion grades, and film grades, etc. Engineered plastics and elastomers are quite strong and therefore cost more. Commodity plastics cost less and are used when a high strength plastic isn’t needed. Optical grade plastics generally possess high transmission levels and ideal index of refraction values for usage in optics and various types of optical components.
Some of the most common types of plastics that are used include injection molded plastics, plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic containers, plastic drums, plastic extrusions, plastic tanks, and plastic tubing.