A plastic polymer material that becomes pliable or moldable at an elevated temperature and hardens after cooling. Thermoplastic materials can be cooled and heated several times without any change in their chemical or mechanical properties.
Thermoplastic materials are available in a wide range of compounds, from Acrylic and ABS to Polycarbonate. Each has specific thermal and mechanical properties depending on its formulation. A unique characteristic of thermoplastic is it can be formed into complex geometries without changing the properties of the base material.
Components made from thermoplastics are typically lighter in weight than parts made from other materials such as fiberglass or sheet metal, and they do not require the time and labor-intensive finishing processes.
Thermoplastics offer these benefits:
Thermoplastics are ductile and impact resistant. In many applications thermoplastics have a longer service life compared to alternative materials because they don’t dent, ding, chip, crack, splinter, or fray. This reduces service calls and component replacements in even the most demanding applications.
Most thermoplastics are chemical and stain resistant and will not yellow or discolor as a result of contact with many chemicals, including industrial cleaners and solvents. Certain compounds are graffiti resistant, making them ideal for outdoor applications.
The colour is blended into the material during the manufacturing process, so the finish effects are consistent throughout the material’s thickness. Custom colours and finishes are available. Most thermoplastics can be custom colour matched for an ideal product hue.
Thermoplastics can be blended with additives to meet strict smoke, flammability, and toxic gas release requirements for aircraft and mass transit interior applications. Many thermoplastic compounds are inherently biocompatible, which means they’re ideal for medical device applications.
Thermoplastics are recyclable and contain no VOCs, making them an environmentally sound solution. Thermoforming manufacturing processes do not outgas VOCs or create any hazardous waste to dispose of. Thermoplastics support end-of-life recyclability and life-cycle design.