Factors to Consider When Choosing Plastics for Your Product

16 May 2016
 Categories: Industrial & Manufacturing, Blog

There are probably dozens if not hundreds of plastics from which to choose for your particular product, as plastics are usually made from a mixture of materials that can be customized for your application. While you may be thinking of using plastic for a product or application because it's somewhat strong and durable, you need to note a few other factors when deciding on a plastic for your product. Note a few of those here and be sure you discuss them with a plastics manufacturer so you choose the best plastic for your application.

1. Tensile strength

This refers to how far a material can stretch before it breaks; this also refers to how much repeated stress a part can endure before it snaps or suffers damage. Handles particularly need a high tensile strength because of constantly being pulled and tugged. Tensile strength may also be called elongation, when a part or piece may be stretched somewhat while still needing to hold its strength.

2. Clarity

Not all plastics are perfectly clear, and you may prefer that some products not be clear. For example, refrigerator drawers may be slightly opaque for a better appearance inside the fridge. On the other hand, plastic used for display cases should be very clear and completely see-through.

3. Creep

This refers to how well a piece holds its shape when under constant pressure. Fasteners especially need a very strong creep factor, as they are constantly holding pressure or the weight of pieces.

4. Chemical resistance

Plastics that are used for cleansers and the like will need a certain chemical resistance. They will need to withstand bleach, caustic materials, and other such chemicals. Pipes and plastics used for drains will need to withstand chemicals that are part of waste and runoff. Note the application of any plastic when exposed to chemicals so you choose the type that will withstand that chemical material in particular.

5. Temperature resistance

For cooking, coffee prep, hair dryers and other hair styling tools, and even drains, plastics will need to withstand heat. This means not actually melting but also not changing its chemical properties or losing a protective coating.

6. Color

Plastics with filters and coatings may not be able to be tinted properly and hold a particular color, so if your plastic part or other piece will need to have a certain exact dye or coloring, you may need to opt for a certain plastic blend that can be colored properly while still maintaining its strength and clarity.