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Which plastic materials are best for injection molding?

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Choosing the right material is critical to almost every step of the injection molding process. As a result, this is often one of the most important steps that manufacturers and their customers must complete throughout the production process. While sometimes why a particular plastic material type and brand is chosen is confidential, several common plastic injection molding materials may be used due to their varying quality and functionality. When considering suitable materials for a project, some key material properties should be considered during planning and development.And of course don’t forget the biodegradable material options.

ABS plastic
As a thermoplastic suitable for a variety of products, ABS is not only inexpensive, but also highly resistant to chipping.One of the industries where ABS is not recommended is for food applications because it is often flammable and has poor UV resistance; however, it is an excellent choice for electronic enclosures or automotive components because of its shock resistance.

Epoxy resin
As another thermoplastic, epoxy resins also have high strength while increasing heat and chemical resistance after curing.Caution is needed, though, as the quality of the epoxy will vary greatly depending on the curing agent used.It is important for manufacturers and their customers to thoroughly understand the final requirements of the epoxy material before it is used in their products.Common applications for epoxy include transistors and electronic circuit components, as well as marine components and plugs.

Acrylic fiber
One of the most striking features of acrylic is its ability to mimic glass very closely.As you might imagine, this makes it a great plastic material choice for applications such as display cases or sunglasses.Since acrylic has a high hardness grade, it also retains scratch resistance and is generally highly resistant to breakage.Other applications where acrylic may be a suitable choice include medical devices, security barriers, or LCD screens.

Polyethylene (PET)
As a thermoplastic with a high melting point and viscosity, polyethylene is best suited for high strength applications requiring thin walls.Due to its high viscosity levels, polyethylene is also suitable for complex molds, although setup and cooling times may be longer than other materials.PET is commonly used in applications where recycling is recommended, making it a common plastic material choice for commercial water bottles.

Polycarbonate (PC)
One of the strongest thermoplastic materials, polycarbonate is one of the most shatter-resistant plastic materials available for injection molding.Although commonly used in eyeglass lenses and bulletproof glass, polycarbonate usually requires additional treatment to resist scratching.Unfortunately, polycarbonate cannot withstand repeated stress or vibration, so it is not suitable for many aerospace or automotive components.

Polystyrene is often the most recommended plastic material when budget is the primary concern; however, it is not ideal for products that require strength.Therefore, it is commonly used to make disposable Petri dishes and food packaging products.Polystyrene also offers limited heat resistance, unlike other materials, and is relatively prone to cracking compared to other plastic materials that are higher in price.

Polypropylene (PP)
Polypropylene is primarily used to package consumer goods and household items, and can be used in a variety of applications ranging from scientific laboratory supplies to mundane items such as tableware or trash cans.Due to its overall low cost and high flexibility, polypropylene is the ideal plastic material choice for high volume production and still provides excellent results for complex moulds.Other common products made from polypropylene include water bottles and medical applications.