Plastic is the most commonly used material for making parts, components and even consumer goods. From the comb we use every day to the making of an international space station, plastic is not going anywhere. Thermoplastic and thermoset are two separate kinds of polymers used in the injection moulding process to create a variety of different types of plastic articles. We are a leading plastic manufacturing company in India that provides both thermoset and thermoplastic injection moulding to make quality products based on customer requirement.
Thermoset is a plastic that sets after they cure. The polymer is a liquid or soft solid that becomes very rigid when it is cured. The most common thermoset materials used in injection moulding include epoxy, alkyds, polyamides, phenolic, thermoset polyester and more. A thermoplastic will liquefy when heated. It is the kind of plastic that can be reheated and reprocessed many times. Thermoplastics initially are in the form of pellets. Some of the commonly used thermoplastic materials include PET, nylon, ABS, TPE, polyethene, polypropylene and more. Based on the product and customer requirement, a suitable material is chosen to manufacture the material.
The injection moulding process differs for both thermoset and thermoplastic material as each requires different treatment. A thermoset injection process requires a cold material to be injected into an extremely hold mould to make the parts. Thermoset injection moulding becomes a permanent chemical bond which cannot be reshaped or removed. It is a difficult process to create a surface finish and does not require high heat and pressure. The process of creating thermoset is called condensation polymerization and the production process involves compression, transfer and casting. Components like billiard balls, tool handles, insulation, parts of TV and computer, cooking utensils, gardening items, electronic items are made using thermoset material.
Thermoplastic products are created by melting the material and injecting them into a mould to make the parts. There is no chemical bonding and is 100% reversible as it can be recycled and re-moulded a number of times. Thermoplastic injection moulding can make plastics that are flexible, aesthetic, an accurate product with a pleasing surface finish. The production process requires high pressure, heat and involves injection moulding, extrusion and blow moulding. The material is prepared by addition polymerization. Some of the products made from thermoplastic injection moulding are gas pipes, gear wheels, vacuum cleaners, toasters, kettles, toys, toasters, machine screws, power tool casings, sacks, packaging film, fittings and more.Also Read: An Ultimate guide to Thermoset
The most challenging fact about thermoset plastics is that it cannot be recycled and the production process emits volatile organic compounds. Thermoplastic is expensive and is challenging to prototype. The product will also easily melt if heated. Thermoset is rigid, hard and more resistant to high temperature. It is cost-effective and provides excellent dimensional stability. Thermoplastic is extremely adhesive to metal and has great impact and corrosion resistance. It is also resistant to chemical, detergent and chip. Both these materials come in a wide range of options and each serves a different application.
A thermoset plastic provides a superb combination of chemical resistance, structural integrity and thermal stability. It finds its application in a wide range of industries like automobiles, electrical, appliance, lighting and energy. Its hardness, superior strength and its ability to mould easily makes thermoset plastic capable of meeting any specification for a wide range of plastic materials at a very low cost. An assortment of large and small parts can be fabricated to produce high volumes consistently. Thermoset maintains its shape, strength and stability in any kind of temperature and environment.
Thermoplastics have been replacing metals in piping systems and fittings. It is an excellent replacement as it can easily withstand harsh, polluted environments that will easily corrode metals. Thermoplastic is favourable as it reduces the huge maintenance cost required for metallic piping systems. Thermoplastic is used as an encapsulation for rigid objects like electrical equipment. Low-pressure polyethene is elastic and can be used for producing belts and ropes. Thermoplastic will have poor resistance to hydrocarbons, organic solvents, and highly polar solvents. Creeping is another issue as it occurs when there is more exposure to long term stress and load.