Comparing Thermoplastic vs Thermoset Materials for Plastic Injection Molding

 plastic injection molding

Did you know that mirror frames were among the first molded “plastic” parts ever made? This dates back to around 1866!

Plastic injection molding is in wide use in the manufacturing process of plastic parts. The automotive, aerospace, and medical industries are just some of the many that use this method.

In plastic injection molding, the choice of material is critical. This is to ensure the final product’s durability and functionality.

Manufacturers use two main types of materials in this process. These are thermoplastic and thermoset materials.

Below we will compare the use of these materials in plastic injection molding.

Thermoplastic Materials in Plastic Injection Molding

Plastic injection molding mainly uses thermoplastics. They are polymers that can be repeatedly melted and reshaped without degrading. Examples of thermoplastic materials include the following:

  • Polyethylene material
  • Polypropylene material
  • Polystyrene material
  • Nylon material

Because thermoplastics are flexible, they are perfect for plastic injection shaping. Some of the benefits include:

  • Making complicated forms and patterns without much trouble
  • Flexible materials are lighter than materials that are thermoset
  • Used in the automotive business, where reducing weight is important
  • Good chemical protection and can withstand exposure to many chemicals, oils, and fuels
  • They are also recyclable, which is essential for the sustainability of the car industry
  • They can decrease the damage that manufacturing has on the environment
  • Cut costs at the shaping plant

There are, however, some problems with thermoplastics. They can’t handle heat as well as thermoset materials can, so they might not be suitable for high-temperature uses. Also, they may bend or change shape if exposed to heat or pressure for a long time.

Thermoset Materials in Plastic Injection Molding

Plastic injection molding can also use thermoset polymers. They have better dimensional stability than thermoplastics. They are often more complex and more rigid. Some good examples of thermoset materials are:

  • Epoxy substrate
  • Polyester materials
  • Phenolic resin

Thermoset materials are excellent at resisting heat. This makes them perfect for use in high-temperature settings without causing any issues. In addition, thermoset materials are superior in electrical components because they can handle high temperatures without getting damaged.

Using thermoset materials for molding is more complicated than using thermoplastics. This is because they can’t be changed once they’re cured. Thermoplastics, on the other hand,  can be remolded.

Thermosets are also more likely to break or crack if struck, while thermoplastics can handle more impact.

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The best material for plastic injection molding depends on the specific needs of the component being produced. This includes the design, its use, and what it needs to do. That said, thermoplastic materials are often the preferred choice because they are flexible, lightweight, and can be recycled.

Do you have a plastic injection molding project? If so, Contact us today! We are proud of our diverse expertise and capabilities at our company, and we’re always ready to take on new challenges.

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