ABS: a terpolymer composed of three monomers, acrylonitrile, butadiene and styrene. Acrylonitrile and styrene provide chemical resistance, butadiene adds impact resistance and makes plastic suitable for furniture, computer cases, etc.

Acrylic – A hard thermoplastic made from acrylic acid or a derivative of acrylic acid. Best known as a glass substitute, generally under the trade names Perspex, Lucite, and Plexiglas.

Amino plastics: Plastics made from ammonia-based compounds, namely, urea formaldehyde and melamine formaldehyde.

Bakelite: It is actually a trade name, but it is often used as a generic name for phenol formaldehyde (phenolic).

Cellophane – Du Pont’s trade name for films made from reclaimed wood pulp (cellulose).

Cellulose: Fibrous matter in all plant cells, with a long-chain molecular structure. The most common sources used to make plastics are cotton fibers and wood pulp.

Cellulose Acetate: A strong thermoplastic made from cellulose in the form of cotton linters, treated with acetic acid and acetic anhydride. It is used for many household trim, such as eyeglass frames, toothbrush handles, and as clear packaging film.

Cellulose acetate butyrate: thermoplastic made from cellulose treated with acetic and butyric acids. Transparent, opaque or colored, with excellent molding qualities, used where more moisture resistance and dimensional stability are required than cellulose acetate.

Copolymer – A plastic made by polymerizing two monomers, for example styrene and acrylonitrile.

Elastomer: a synthetic plastic with the flexible properties of rubber.

Epoxy resin: a very resistant thermosetting resin that is used as a coating or reinforced to make moldings or laminates.

Ester: A compound produced by the reaction between an acid and an alcohol.

GRP: Glass-reinforced polyester, that is, a polyester resin reinforced with glass fibers, which converts the resin, which has no resistance of its own, into a very elastic material. Widely used to build boats, furniture and cars.

HIPS: high impact polystyrene

LLDPE – Linear Low Density Polyethylene, a new type of low density polyethylene.

Melalmine: Melamine formaldehyde, a thermoset produced by reacting (triaminotriazine) with formaldehyde. A tough glossy plastic usually reinforced with a wood pulp filler.

Monomer: A simple compound of low molecular weight. Polymerization joins monomers to form high molecular weight polymers.

Nylon: it is not a material, but a group of very resistant and flexible materials called polyamides. Thermoplastic and is usually found in the form of fibers or used solid, such as gears, zippers, and more recently as dyed jewelry.

Phenolic: abbreviated version of phenol – formaldehyde. Phenolic is generally reinforced with a filler, but molten phenolic has no filler and can be translucent. It can be easily colored and used decoratively for jewelry, radio cabinets and all kinds of ornaments.

Polycarbonate – A very strong thermoplastic, generally found as a substitute for glass, for example: vandal-proof telephone kiosks, bullet-proof protectors, baby bottles, and picnic utensils.

Polyesters: complex ester compounds that are thermosetting and can be polymerized at room temperature, for example GRP.

Polymer: Another word for a plastic material: one that has been formed from chains of molecules of one or more monomers. Polymers (plastics) are organic substances, made up of hundreds or thousands of molecules linked together in a repeating chain pattern (also known as macromolecules).

Polymerization: The chemical process of joining monomers to form new compounds called polymers. For example, ethylene polymerizes to polyethylene (polyethylene for short).

Polypropylene: A thermoplastic polymerized from propene, very similar to polyethylene in molecular structure, but harder, stronger, and less flexible.

Polystyrene: A brittle water white thermoplastic polymerized from styrene (phenylethylene). Brittleness is overcome by adding some butadiene, resulting in hardened polystyrene also known as high impact polystyrene (HIPS), a copolymer of butadiene and styrene. Expanded polystyrene is the rigid white foam used for packaging.

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