Engineering Materials

Chapter 8 - Polymers



Outline the structure of plastics Identify the two main types of plastics Describe various plastic processing methods Outline the common plastics, their properties and uses


adhesives.(n>2000) They are based chemically on carbon which combines with elements such as H. coatings. O. bitumen.Introduction Plastics are produced from petroleum or natural gases. 3 Introduction – cont’d Polymer can either exist naturally or synthetically A large molecule made up of repeating monomer units consist of chains or rings structure: -[R]n. elastomers (synthetic rubbers). Natural polymers include shellac. silk. wool and rubber 4 . fibres. Synthetic polymers include plastics. and etc.

Structure of Plastics Simplest polymer is Polyethylene (PE) (C 2H4)n Average chain size of a polymer expressed as degree of polymerization ‘n’. which represents average no. of MERs in a chain Average of ‘n’ for polyethylene ranges from 3500 to 25000 Double covalent bond between carbon atoms and four single covalent bonds between carbon and hydrogen atoms H2C=CH2 (monomer) Polymerization is a process where monomers are joined chemically together to form a polymer 5 Structure of Plastics – cont’d MER Ethylene monomer Polyethylene Monomer (polymer) n H C H H C H heat pressure catalyst H C H H C H n H C H H C H H C H H C H H C H H C H H C H H C H 6 MER Unit .

'rubbery' state and 'glassy' state. Temperature at which transition is between the glassy and rubbery states is called glass transition temperature or Tg. 8 .Amorphous & Semi-Crystalline Polymers Amorphous materials are oriented in random They are formed and shaped at a temperature above Tg when they are in soft a condition Semi-crystalline polymers form ordered structures Give rise to crystalline regions dispersed within amorphous regions Hot-formed and shaped above Tm or coldformed between T g and Tm Used above T g and up to Tm 7 Glass Transition Temperature (T g) Amorphous solids such as polymer can exist in two distinct states.

Crystallinity (%) 65 90 75 75 65 10 0 0 Tg (°C) -90 -110 20 -20 65 80 100 150 Tm (° C) 115 137 327 175 265 212 240 265 10 Polypropylene (PP) Polyamide (PA) (Nylon 66) PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Polystyrene (PS) Polycarbonate (PC) .2. and the liquid solidifies into an amorphous solid – that is. non-crystalline solid. the liquid phase can be maintained all the way down to the temperature at which Tg occurs.1 . However.Tg and Tm for some Polymers Material LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) PTFE (Polytetraflouroethylene)(Teflon) Max. lacking any such nucleus. 9 Table 8.Supercooling Supercooling is the process of cooling a liquid to a temperature below its melting point without it becoming a solid A liquid below its melting point will crystallise in the presence of a seed crystal (nucleus) around which a crystal structure can form.

Polyethylene (PE). Acronitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). Polymethyl-methacrylate (PMMA) or acrylic (‘Perspex’). Can be reheated and reformed into new shapes a number of times Atoms in repeating molecule are strongly bonded by covalent bonds.Types Of Plastics (a) Thermoplastics (linear structure) Will soften upon heating. Long chain of molecules are together held by weak Van der Waals forces 11 Types of Plastics – cont’d Examples of Thermoplastics Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) (Teflon). Polyamide (PA) (Nylon). Polystyrene(PS) 12 . thus allowing them to be reworked by forming or extruding.

Types Of Plastics 13 Types Of Plastics – cont’d 14 .

epoxy(EP). phenolformaldehyde (PF) or phenolics (Bakelite).g. polyester. polyurethane(PUR). E. 16 . melamineformaldehyde(MF). Will degrade if excess heat is applied 15 Types Of Plastics – cont’d (b) Thermosetting plastics (Thermosets) (con’td) Consist of cross-linking of molecules by strong covalent bond to form a rigid solid. ureaformaldehyde(UF).Types Of Plastics – cont’d (b) Thermosetting plastics (Thermosets) (crosslined structure) They are formed into permanent shape and cured by chemical reaction Cannot be remelted and reformed into another shape Cannot be recycled.

and of good appearance. LIMITATIONS: Lose their strength at higher temperatures. many are not suitable for used above 200 0C.General Properties of Plastics ADVANTAGES: Resistant to atmosphere corrosion. Good strength/weight ratio. Cheap. available in different colours. Susceptible to chemical attack and degradation. Relatively light. tubes. Tendency of surface cracks appearing during long usage. Tend to "creep" (elongate under load). Reasonably tough and strong. Good electrical and thermal insulation properties. Used for shaping thermoplastics 18 . 17 Plastics Manufacturing Methods (a) Extrusion: Heated plastic granules are forced through a die in extrusion moulding to form shapes such as rods. and angles.

19 Plastics Manufacturing Methods (cont’d) (c) Injection Moulding: Molten plastic is heated and forced into a mould by injection under pressure. Used for shaping thermoplastics 20 . Moulded part solidifies quickly.Plastics Manufacturing Methods (cont’d) (b) Compression Moulding: Granulated plastic is placed in a heated mould and compressed with a plunger until required shape is formed. and mould is opened to eject the part. Used for shaping thermosetting plastics.

Used for shaping thermoplastics. 21 Plastics Manufacturing Methods (cont’d) (e) Vacuum Forming (Thermoforming): Plastic sheets are heated by the heating lamps and are forced into mould by vacuum. It is then opened after the component (bottle) has cooled down and the bottle is ejected. Compressed air is blown into the tube which expands to fit the configuration of the mould. Used for shaping thermoplastics 22 .Plastics Manufacturing Methods (cont’d) (d) Blow Moulding: A hollow tube is extruded into a mould .

excellent electrical insulation properties and good surface properties Plasticised PVC is soft and flexible and it is used in wire covering. Used for shaping themosetting plastics. It is used in pipes.Plastics Manufacturing Methods (cont’d) (f) Casting: Liquid polymer is poured into the mould. toy balls. floor tiles. tough and strong. Solidification is achieved on completion of polymerization. raincoats and shoes Unplasticised PVC (uPVC) is hard. Both types have good weathering resistance. gloves. Credit cards are also made of uPVC 24 . gutters and window frames. 23 SOME COMMON THERMOPLASTICS (a) Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Available in two forms – plasticised or unplasticised. pipe fittings.

Has superior strength.g. A wide variety of coloured products can be obtained. Used for dustbins. electrical insulator. Luggage bags Spoiler Helmet Airbag panels 26 . airbag panels). automobile parts (spoilers. luggage bags. HDPE is much stronger. pipes 25 SOME COMMON THERMOPLASTICS – cont’d (c) ABS ( Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene). stiffness. dinghy hulls. fluid containers. Used in packaging films (e. helmets. plastic bags). Often fabricated into clear thin films. bottle crates.LDPE (low density polyethylene) .SOME COMMON THERMOPLASTICS – cont’d (b) Polyethylene (Polythene)(PE) PE is the most extensively used plastics. tubing and domestic wares. Used for TV housing.HDPE (high density polyethylene) LDPE is very tough and flexible. toughness and abrasion resistant properties. Clear to whitish translucent plastics. harder and stiffer. Two main types of PE: .

Boards Sealing tapes Non-stick coating in cooking utensils Teflon hose 28 . etc. gaskets. low coefficient of friction.Some HDPE & LDPE Products HDPE LDPE Shower caps Drinking bottles Pipe flange Plastic bags Pipes Bottle crate Gloves Garbage bags Traffic cone 27 SOME COMMON THERMOPLASTICS – cont’d (d) Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) Also known as Teflon Excellent chemical resistance. bearings. High melting temperature (327 oC) Used in insulating tapes. non-stick coating in cooking utensils. chopping boards. tough.

tanks.SOME COMMON THERMOSETTING PLASTICS (e) Polyester (Unsaturated) Polyester can be a thermoplastic or a thermoset (thermosetting plastic). surface hardness and low water absorption Polyester resins are used as matrix for fibreglass reinforcement for boat hulls. (ii) Polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) 30 . Unsaturated polyesters are thermosetting resins which are used as resin matrix for reinforced composites. The unique aspect of the thermosetting polyester resin is that they are liquids at room temperature and remain liquid for a substantial time until catalysed or heated into cross-linking. most common polyesters are thermoplastics. However. 29 SOME COMMON THERMOSETTING PLASTICS – cont’d (e) Polyester (Unsaturated) (cont’d) Has good impact resistance. car bodies and swimming pools Examples: (i) Polyethylene terephthalate (PET). wheelbarrows.

etc. Automobile ignition parts Knobs Telephone 31 SOME COMMON THERMOSETTING PLASTICS – cont’d (b) Aminos Plastics There are two basic types of amino plastics: (i) Urea-formaldehyde (UF) (ii) Melamine ‑ formaldehyde (MF) UF is low cost. handles. Typical applications: sauce pan handle. harder and has better heat and stain resistance.SOME COMMON THERMOSETTING PLASTICS – cont’d (a) Phenol-formaldehyde (Phenolics) Also known as Bakelite. hard and brittle material with good creep resistance. light fixtures. bottle caps. Applications: dinnerware (cups and plates). Applications: buttons. laminated worktop. 32 . gear wheels. MF is more costly. Strong. surface coatings. automobile ignition systems and pump parts. hard. wall panels. adhesives for furniture. abrasion resistant. excellent electrical insulating properties. fair chemical resistance and heat resistant to 70 oC. Used up to 150oC and it is available only in dark colour.

33 Notice: All pictures found in this document were taken from websites for the purpose of education 34 .SOME COMMON THERMOSETTING PLASTICS – cont’d (c) Epoxy Have better chemical and heat resistance than other thermosetting plastics. less shrinkage during curing and better weatherability Used for adhesives. reinforced with fibres for boat hulls and for the repair of defective castings. surface coatings. Tough.