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The Properties of Plastics

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The Properties of Plastics --- Aheadmold

Plastics are organic materials made from large molecules that are constructed by a chain-like attachment of certain building-block molecules. The properties of the plastic depend heavily on the size of the molecule and on the arrangement of the atoms within the molecule. For example, polyethylene is made from the ethylene building block that is initially a gas. Through a process called polymerization, a chain of ethylene molecules is formed by valence bonding of the carbon atoms within the ethylene molecule. The high molecular weight product which results is called a polymer. Hence, the designation polyethylene is used to distinguish the high- molecular-weight plastic from its gaseous counterpart, ethylene, which is the monomer that becomes polymerized. The “poly” refers to the “many” ethylene building block molecules or monomers, which join to form the polyethylene plastic molecule. Frequently, the term “resin” is used, interchangeably with “polymer” to describe the backbone molecule of a plastic material. However, “resin” is sometimes used to describe a syrupy liquid of both natural and synthetic resin.
Plastics, in the finished product form, are seldom comprised exclusively of polymer but also include other ingredients such as fillers, pigments, stabilizers, and processing aids. However, designation of the plastic material or molding compound is always taken from the polymer designation.
Broadly speaking plastics may be divided into two categories: thermoplastics and thermoset plastics. The classes of materials are so named because of the effect of temperature on their properties.

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