Polymers and plastic resins are compounds comprised of two or more repeating organic or synthetic base molecules. They are widely used as raw materials in plastics molding and fabrication operations.   Background   Polymerization   Synthetic polymer chains are formed by reacting two or more organic monomer molecules together. At the most basic level, polymers can be classified into homopolymers, which consist of long chains of the same monomer, and copolymers,...
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Q & A on Polymers and Plastic Resins

We asked our users for their input on Polymers and Plastic Resins. Here are the results of 442 users familiar with Polymers and Plastic Resins.

Who Took Our Poll? | Design Trends | Applications and Use | Features | Buying Advice

Who Took Our Poll?Top

Design TrendsTop

Q:
What new technologies are influencing polymer and plastic material design?
68 answers
Answers:
Increased usage of blended products with theoretically incompatible processing requirements. Changes in environmental priorities, the need to be able to recycle used components at the end of their useful life. Ever lighter and more stressed structural components with the requirement to be able to produce class1 paint finishes or cosmetically acceptable and colour stable uncoated items. Resistance to solvents and fuels. Biodegradable demands.
~Purchasing, Sydney, Australia
Material flows are changing all the time to reduce costs in all, many years ago there were not that many different materials to chose from but now they are change all the time. Reduction in wall thickness and strength of some materials is brilliant. So many different materials now are moving from oil base to other materials.
~Manufacturing, Ireland, Ireland
1. Orientation of extruded thermoplastics for better mechanical properties eg. Oriented PVC-U for pipes. 2. Nano technology to enhance end product properties eg. nano particle flame retardants to reduce the percentage of flame retardants in the polymer formulations. 3. Bio-degradable plastics for food packaging
~NANDA KUMAR NARAYAN, Technical Support, Bangalore, India
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Q:
From your perspective, which companies are creating the most innovative polymers and plastic materials?
69 answers
Answers:
Dupont, BASF, Bayer, for engineering plastics and specialist application / OEM market development linked polymer suppliers eg EPDM filled crystalized products. Who develop lower spec products to fulfill a limited end use specification.
~Purchasing, Sydney, Australia
Mainly relatively small companies that want to differentiate themselves from vendors that produce high volumes. E.g. plastic raw materials for 3D painting (reflective painting).
~Harri H, Sourcing, Espoo, Finland
With so many different companies involved and constant mergers and takeovers, it is difficult to see what's really happening. I do feel that GE and Shell have remained strong.
~Manufacturing, Ireland, Ireland
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Applications and UseTop

Q:
What are some of the applications you have used polymers and plastic materials for?
112 answers
Answers:
I currently design boats, mostly catamarans of all kinds. I was the pioneer of using foam sandwich construction (PVC foam core with resin/glass fiber skins). I have developed and refined the use of these materials ever since. We have our own unique build methods, KSS (Kelsall Swiftsure Sandwich) which is the most efficient way to build the boats. It is based on making a kit of flat panels on a full length mould table. Resin infusion is the laminating method. The basic plastic materials have changed little over the 46 years since my first use of them.
~Derek K, Naval Architect, Waihi, New Zealand
Injection molded parts both reinforced with glass and carbon and non-reinforced. Thermoformed parts. Extruded parts. Rotomolded parts. I also have a lot experience with Continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic, RTL (Reinforced Thermoplastic Laminates) pressured formed. I also have a number of years of thermoset composite laminated experience. I have Tooling Design and Part Design as will as manufacturing experience. My expertise is in the area of problem solving, trouble shooting problems and root cause analysis.
~Gene Jackson, Engineering Consultant, Deer Park, WA
Oil & Gas - pipe Oil & Gas - centralizers Retail - street hockey Lighting panels Environmental - flue linings, conveyor rollers, linings for various chemical application, linings for various flue applications - coal Packaging equipment - bushings bearings Food - hot tip nozzles Injection molding - hot runner tips POP - design profiles for retail stores
~Robert S, Marketing/Sales, Mississauga, Canada
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Q:
Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that polymers and plastic materials have been used for.
41 answers
Answers:
I and a colleague designed a plastic umbilical clamp for offshore industry. There are other variants in PE, but we made one with good grip force. There are also rubber variants but then with very low grip force. I wish to have a plastic that does not relax in temperatures up to 110 degrees celsius for months, are robust against heavy impact loads, resistant to mineral oils and pH levels up to 14,5. Low density and cheap. Easy to mould and to machine.
~Engineering, Design, Oslo, Norway
Most of the applications I've worked on have been more-or-less standard, although the fact that they are intended for use in medical devices adds complexity.
~Research & Development, Wilsonville, OR
No such type of polymer that influence our lives, only wrong use of polymers eg chemical property, and end use application we have to maintain.
~KAMAL NARIN RAI RAI, Production Engineer, VARANSI, INDIA
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Q:
Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of polymers and plastic materials?
28 answers
Answers:
Selecting a material class too soon resulted in a long and costly engineering process, that in the end didn't succeed. The whole development and engineering process had to be done all over again. The product (office machine) was years later on the market and wasn't competitive any more. So too much haste at the start resulted in the end in long delay!
~Niels S, Engineering Consultant, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Poor choice of materials and or bad design created the term “Cheap plastics!” “localized fastening” is why those plastics break, tighten the screw down too tight. That is the very reason the most suppliers are now using the term polymers or engineering polymers to get away from the term plastic.
~Gene Jackson, Engineering Consultant, Deer Park, WA
Often the wrong type of plastic is specified for the application (normally for cost reasons), or inexpensive tooling is built where better tooling is necessary. These situations often lead to disappointing results.
~Bill M, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Round Rock, TX
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FeaturesTop

Q:
What would your design or feature "wish list" be for this product?
55 answers
Answers:
The sky is the limit for plastics. We are just now learning about RTL materials and how to use them. Mixing polymers with different continues fiber reinforcements. The injection molding industry has been using metals as inserts for years it would be nice to see the use of metals or RTL as the support structure and use the injection molded polymer to hold it all together. I have seen some of this but not enough cost saving approach to manufacturing.
~Gene Jackson, Engineering Consultant, Deer Park, WA
Low cost, high strength with thin wall, tough, UV stable, resistant to fuels, oils & cleaning products, low shrinkage, dimensionally stable, hi mould flow, low moisture absorption. In short, properties that make the polymer cheap and easy to mould and give a repeatable, stable moulding in an outdoor marine environment.
~Engineering, Design, Portsmouth, Great Britain
Low temperature processing (under 80 degrees C), fast cure (under 10s), excellent chemical resistance to iodine and high bp solvents, thin bondline (10 microns), flexible after curing, excellent water barrier properties.
~Renai, Materials Scientist, Deeside, UK
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Q:
Is there any advice you want to share with users to help them avoid common errors in selection or usage of polymers and plastic materials?
33 answers
Answers:
Define the requirements of the part before you pick a material or start a design. Make sure the mold maker is working with the polymer supplier. As with injection molding, gate location, gate type, may or may not give the mechanicals required for the design. Part configuration and mold design will have some effect on the polymers mechanicals.
~Gene Jackson, Engineering Consultant, Deer Park, WA
When doing a "three bid and a buy" approach to procurement, when product is lean, you may be the last to get product. If you build strategic suppliers, you will have security of supply at costs more favorable than the person who was looking for lowest price when product was long.
~Business Management and Materials Consultant, Atlanta, GA
Single sourcing should be avoided Trial new materials as often as possible to get approved functional and chemical replacements Traceability of product to reliable sources will keep the "melamine out of the dog food" GMP should be addressed at both ends of the supply chain.
~Richard M, Marketing/Sales, Lynchburg, VA
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Buying AdviceTop

Q:
Do you have any advice for people relative to buying or using polymers and plastic materials?
36 answers
Answers:
Look at total cost of ownership - often people focus on minimizing one area of cost (for example tool cost) that jeopardizes the end product. Lowest cost comes from the right combination of part design, material selection, tooling, manufacturing process.
~Bill M, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Round Rock, TX
Never compromise on the quality of raw materials if you manufacture standard products. Do not change the source of raw materials as much as possible to achieve consistency.
~NANDA KUMAR NARAYAN, Technical Support, Bangalore, India
Understand the application to the fullest. Temperatures, Impact required, wall thickness, weatherability, how it is used, useful life, chemical contact.........
~John H, General Corporate Mgmt, Manchester, NH
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