Plastic plate, rod and stock shapes include shaped plastic parts and plastic stock. They are fabricated through molding, casting, extrusion, pultrusion, machining, thermal forming, plastic welding, blow molding, and grinding processes. Products are supplied as bars, films, flats, hexes, plates, profiles, rods, rounds, sheets, shims, and spheres.
There are many different chemical materials used for stock plastic shapes. The most common choices include polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene, PEEK, polyethylene, and fluoropolymer.
Polyvinyl chloride is a thermoplastic polymer widely used in construction because it is cheap, durable, and easy to assemble. It can be made softer and more flexible by the addition of plasticizers. It is a controversial material because of the toxins it may liberate during its production and lifetime.
Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer that is used in packaging, textiles, stationary, laboratory equipment, and plastic parts. It is rugged and unusually resistant to many chemical solvents, acids, and bases.
PEEK or polyether ether ketone is a colorless organic polymer thermoplastic. It has excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties that are retained at high temperatures. It is highly resistant to thermal degradation as well. It is used extensively in the aerospace, automotive, electronic, and chemical process industries.
Polyethylene is the most widely used plastic resin and is a base polymer for other variations of polymers. It is used to form a variety of common or commodity-plastic components. High density (HDPE) and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW PE) have good friction and mechanical properties. They are used in medical devices, wear parts, and engineered components.
Fluoropolymers including polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) are used in applications requiring superior chemical resistance. PTFE is used in applications requiring superior chemical resistance or low friction.
The choice of a chemical type determines a product’s thermal, mechanical, electrical, and optical properties. Fillers also have a large impact on a plastic’s properties. Choices include aramid fibers, chopped fibers, carbon fillers, glass powders, metal powders, and other mineral or inorganic materials. Unfilled products are also available.
Size is generally the key specification to consider for most plastic shape uses. Specifications vary by stock type. For example, plastic shapes such as bars and plates are specified according to overall thickness, overall width, and overall length. Outer diameter (OD) and inner diameter (ID) are size specifications used to size tubes, rods, and hollow shapes.
Plastic plate, rod and stock shapes are used in aerospace, automotive, electronics, optoelectronics, food processing, semiconductor, marine, medical, and military applications.
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