Plastics | Engineering Materials

The plastics are synthetic materials which are moulded into shape under pressure with or without the application of heat. These can also be cast, rolled, extruded, laminated and machined. Following are the two types of plastics:

(a) Thermosetting plastics, and
(b) Thermoplastic.

The thermosetting plastics are those which are formed into shape under heat and pressure and results in a permanently hard product. The heat first softens the material, but as additional heat and pressure is applied, it becomes hard by a chemical change known as phenol-formaldehyde (Bakelite), phenol-furfural (Durite), urea-formaldehyde (Plaskon) etc.

The thermoplastic materials do not become hard with the application of heat and pressure and no chemical change occurs. They remain soft at elevated temperatures until they are hardened by cooling. These can be remelted repeatedly by successive application of heat. Some of the common thermoplastics are cellulose nitrate (Celluloid), polythene, polyvinyl acetate, polyvinyl chloride (P.V.C.) etc.


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