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Types of Plastic Raw Materials

6/28/2013 1:11:15 PM | by Anonymous

Plastic Raw Materials

There is a wide range of plastic raw materials used in the production of plastic products so they could hold features that will suit the market’s demand. Plastics are flexible objects which density and strength could vary and undergo a molding process so they could be produced into various forms. To produce a plastic product according to the physical requirement of an application, both the plastic raw materials and the molding machinery has to be considered as how the finished product would appear highly depends on these two factors.


Plastics can either be made from organic or man-made polymers. Various raw materials are mixed to assemble and mold the polymers into the desired shape. By putting together different mix of properties, plastic of various qualities and characteristics could be produced. Some could be lightweight but have great tolerance to stretch before tearing apart like disposable polyethylene (PE) bags while some could contain properties more suitable to use as beverage bottles called high density polyethylene (HDPE). The latter is the preferred material in the manufacture of plastic because it is moisture resistant, durable, and affordable and holds features such as being translucent and transparent. Low density polyethylene (LDPE) has the same chemical properties as HDPE but the former is more expensive and compatible to use with more types of consumer goods. The disadvantage of LDPE is that it has very low resistance to chemicals.


For building materials and furniture that need to have tolerance to cold temperature, the ideal type of plastic raw material to use is low density polyethylene (LDPE). Products made from organic sources are only a few but continue to exist for they still serve important roles in the society. Some of these organic made plastic products are rubber which came from the sap of a plant and celluloid which is obtained from cellulose. Today, the plastic raw materials typically used came from natural gas and petroleum oil. Before plastics are manufactured, they must first go through the “cracking process”. This process involves the conversion of natural gas or crude oil into hydrocarbon monomers. Typically, the hydrocarbon monomers include propylene and ethylene while in some cases could be terephthatic acid, vinyl chloride, ethylene glycol, styrene and a few others. Afterwards, a chemical process will bind the hydrocarbon monomers together. To obtain the kind of plastic one wants to produce, these monomers will be manipulated so they would bond in a certain way that will produce the desired form of plastic. The finished plastic bottle may go through additional processes in order to finally reach the final product containing the specified functionality.


Thermoplastics contain chemical structures that are similar in both hot and solid molten conditions. This type of plastic is typically recycled for it can turn into another structure when dried up from liquid state. Another way to categorize plastic raw materials is through the structure of their polymers. The polymers could be in an amorphous structure, crystalline matrix or lined up in an orderly manner. Other plastic raw materials are polyamides (PA), polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polystyrene (PS) to name a few.

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