Resources

Basic Resin guide

Commodity resins are often inexpensive and easy to process plastics. They are used in all kinds of applications, including toys, packaging, and consumer products.

Engineering resins are plastic materials that have better mechanical and/or thermal properties than commodity plastics. These high strength plastics are often resistant to high temperatures, wear, and corrosives. Engineering plastics are often used in wood or metal replacement applications as a means of reducing cost or weight while maintaining strength and performance.

  • Commodity Resins
    • ACRYLONITRILE BUTADIENE STYRENE (ABS)
      Strength: Low – Med
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Low
      Resistance to Impact: High
      Material Flow: Fair – Good
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Fair – Good
      Resistance to Flash: Good
      Cost of Resin: Low – Med
      Impact on Mold (wear): Low Impact
      Advantages: Chemical resistant, easily processed, good surface finish, RoHS Compliant, flame retardant
      Disadvantages: Limited weathering resistance
      Common Uses: Consumer Goods, auto interiors, toys
      Brand Examples: Cycolac, Lustran, Trilac
    • ACRYLIC (PMMA)
      Strength: Med
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Low
      Resistance to Impact: Low
      Material Flow: Good
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Good
      Resistance to Flash: Good
      Cost of Resin: Med
      Impact on Mold (wear): Low Impact
      Advantages: Good weatherability, insulation, clear/colorable
      Disadvantages:
      Common Uses: Glass replacement, lenses, casings, aquariums
      Brand Examples: Acrylite, Kydex, Plexiglass
    • HIGH DENSITY POLYETHYLENE (HDPE)
      Strength: Low
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Low
      Resistance to Impact: High
      Material Flow: Excellent
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Fair
      Resistance to Flash: Poor
      Cost of Resin: Low
      Impact on Mold (wear): Low
      Advantages: Food contact acceptable, easily processed
      Disadvantages: High thermal expansion, poor weather resistance
      Common Uses: Toys, Buckets
      Brand Examples: Chevron, Dow, Relene
    • POLYPROPYLENE (PP)
      Strength: Low
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Low
      Resistance to Impact: High
      Material Flow: Excellent
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Fair
      Resistance to Flash: Poor
      Cost of Resin: Low
      Impact on Mold (wear): Low
      Advantages: Food contact acceptable, easily processed
      Disadvantages: Degraded by UV
      Common Uses: Consumer Goods / Living Hinge Applications
      Brand Examples: Hival, Lupol, ProFax
    • POLYETHYLENE (PE)
      Strength: Low
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Low
      Resistance to Impact: High
      Material Flow: Good
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Excellent
      Resistance to Flash: Poor
      Cost of Resin: Low
      Impact on Mold (wear): Low
      Advantages: Corrosion resistant, low weight, high flexibility, food contact acceptable, easily processed
      Disadvantages: Poor weatherability, high thermal expansion
      Common Uses: Toys, Bearings, Buckets
      Brand Examples: Bapolene
    • POLYSTYRENE (PS)
      Strength: Low – Med
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Low
      Resistance to Impact: Low – Med
      Material Flow: Good
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Fair – Good
      Resistance to Flash: Fair
      Cost of Resin: Low
      Impact on Mold (wear): Low
      Advantages: Food contact acceptable, flame retardant, fast cycle time, expandable
      Disadvantages: Poor solvent and chemical resistance
      Common Uses: Toys, packaging, product casings (Crystal PS for clear cases, cups)
      Brand Examples: Starex, Styron
    • POLYVINYL CHLORIDE (PVC)
      Strength: Low – Med
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Low – Med
      Resistance to Impact: Med
      Material Flow: Med
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Med
      Resistance to Flash: Med
      Cost of Resin: Low
      Impact on Mold (wear): Med – High
      Advantages: Flame retardant, high Gloss, UV resistant
      Disadvantages: High density, UV sensitive
      Common Uses: Soft, flexible parts; fencing; containers, can also be rigid to add strength
      Brand Examples: Mixvil, Vital-line
    • STYRENE ACRYLONITRILE (SAN)
      Strength: Med
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Low – Med
      Resistance to Impact: Low
      Material Flow: Med
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Med
      Resistance to Flash: Med
      Cost of Resin: Med
      Impact on Mold (wear): Low – Med
      Advantages: Good weatherability, chemical resistant, high Clarity, good processability
      Disadvantages: Higher water absorption and yellowing than PS
      Common Uses: Electical and Automotive applications, cosmetic Packaging, containers
      Brand Examples: Absolan
  • Engineering Resins
    • ACETAL (POM)
      Strength: Med
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Low – Med
      Resistance to Impact: Med
      Material Flow: Fair
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Fair
      Resistance to Flash: Good
      Cost of Resin: Med
      Impact on Mold (wear): Med
      Advantages: Low fatigue, low moisture sensitivity, chemical resistant, good chemical properties
      Disadvantages: Poor resistance to acids, UV Degradation
      Common Uses: Springs, bearings, valve parts
      Brand Examples: Ashlene, Celcon, Delrin
    • POLYBUTYLENE TEREPHTHALATE (PBT)
      Strength: Med
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Low
      Resistance to Impact: High
      Material Flow: Fair
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Fair
      Resistance to Flash: Fair
      Cost of Resin: Med – High
      Impact on Mold (wear): Low – Med
      Advantages: Dispersible, good electrical properties, food contact acceptable
      Disadvantages: Difficult to fill thin parts, poor resistance to acid
      Common Uses: Electronic components, housings, automotive connectors
      Brand Examples: Celstran, Celanex, Valox
    • PBT / PET (GLASS FILLED)
      Strength: High
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Med
      Resistance to Impact: Med
      Material Flow: Fair – Good
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Poor – Fair
      Resistance to Flash: Fair
      Cost of Resin: Med – High
      Impact on Mold (wear): Med
      Advantages: Low moisture absorption, high stiffness-to-weight ratio, medical and UV resistant grades
      Disadvantages:
      Common Uses: Structural parts, housings, automotive components
      Brand Examples: Crastin, Rynite, Makroblend
    • POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE (PET)
      Strength: Med
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Med
      Resistance to Impact: High
      Material Flow: Good
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Med
      Resistance to Flash: Med
      Cost of Resin: Med
      Impact on Mold (wear): Low – Med
      Advantages: Chemical resistant, clarity, easily processed
      Disadvantages:
      Common Uses: Infant products, sterilizer lids, dishwasher parts
      Brand Examples: Celanex, Ramapet
    • POLYCARBONATE (PC)
      Strength: Med
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Med – High
      Resistance to Impact: High
      Material Flow: Fair
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Fair – Good
      Resistance to Flash: Good
      Cost of Resin: Med – High
      Impact on Mold (wear): Low
      Advantages: RoHS compliant, dimensionally stable, easily Processed
      Disadvantages: Fair chemical resistance, degrades during extended processing times
      Common Uses: Lenses, light covers, single use containers
      Brand Examples: Hopolex, Lexan, Makrolon
    • POLYETHER ETHER KETONE (PEEK)
      Strength: High
      Strength at Elevated Temp: High
      Resistance to Impact: High
      Material Flow: Good
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Med
      Resistance to Flash: Med
      Cost of Resin: Med – High
      Impact on Mold (wear): Med
      Advantages: Chemical resistant, abrasive resistant, corrosive and hydrolysis resistant, can be filled with carbon fiber, graphite, molybdenum disulfide, etc. for lubricating properties and enhanced mechanical strength, food contact acceptable, good sterilizability
      Disadvantages:
      Common Uses: Engineering applications, medical/healthcare
      Brand Examples: Victrex
    • POLYETHER IMIDE (PEI)
      Strength: High
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Med
      Resistance to Impact: Med
      Material Flow: High
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Med
      Resistance to Flash: Med
      Cost of Resin: Med – High
      Impact on Mold (wear): Med
      Advantages: Flame Retardant, good chemical resistance, good processability
      Disadvantages: Notch sensitive, limited colorability
      Common Uses: Medical/healthcare, automotive, aerospace, metal replacement, thin walled parts
      Brand Examples: Duron, Ultem
    • POLYETHERSULFONE (PES) / POLYSULFONE (PSU)
      Strength: High
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Med – High
      Resistance to Impact: Med
      Material Flow: Low – Med
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Med
      Resistance to Flash: Med
      Cost of Resin: High
      Impact on Mold (wear): Med
      Advantages: Acid resistant, thermal stability, hydrolysis resistant
      Disadvantages: Poor weatherability, difficult to process, cost
      Common Uses: Food service, automotive, medical/healthcare, aerospace, engineering applications
      Brand Examples: HiFill, Thermocomp
    • POLYETHYLENE ETHER (PPE)
      Strength: Med – High
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Med – High
      Resistance to Impact: Med – High
      Material Flow: High
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Med – High
      Resistance to Flash: Med
      Cost of Resin: High
      Impact on Mold (wear): Med
      Advantages: Excellent electrical properties, resistant to acids and bases, can be blended with PS to improve processability and toughness
      Disadvantages: High viscosity, high cost, color degrades with UV
      Common Uses: Automotive, electrical and industrial applications
      Brand Examples: Ashlene, Norpex
    • POLYAMIDE (NYLON)
      Strength: Med
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Low
      Resistance to Impact: High
      Material Flow: Good – Excellent
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Fair
      Resistance to Flash: Poor
      Cost of Resin: Med
      Impact on Mold (wear): Low – Med
      Advantages: Food contact acceptable, easily processed
      Disadvantages: Degraded by UV
      Common Uses: Bearings, medium stress components
      Brand Examples: Akromid, Celanese, Zytel
    • POLYAMIDE (NYLON) – GLASS FILLED
      Strength: High
      Strength at Elevated Temp: High
      Resistance to Impact: Med
      Material Flow: Good – Excellent
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Poor
      Resistance to Flash: Fair
      Cost of Resin: Med
      Impact on Mold (wear): Fair
      Advantages: High Strength, wear and chemical resistance
      Disadvantages:
      Common Uses: Metal replacement, connectors, bushings
      Brand Examples: Capron, Zytel
    • POLYPHENYLENE SULFIDE (PPS)
      Strength: High
      Strength at Elevated Temp: High
      Resistance to Impact: Low – Med
      Material Flow: Low – Med
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Low – Med
      Resistance to Flash: High
      Cost of Resin: High
      Impact on Mold (wear): Med
      Advantages: Lubricated, electrically conductive, good wear Resistance, flame retardant, high strength
      Disadvantages: Difficult to process, fillers required for impact strength, high cost
      Common Uses: Automotive, medical/healthcare, engineering, and electrical applications, metal replacement
      Brand Examples: Celstran, Fortron
    • THERMOPLASTIC ELASTOMER (TPE)
      Strength: Low
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Low
      Resistance to Impact: High
      Material Flow: Excellent
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Poor
      Resistance to Flash: Poor
      Cost of Resin: Low – Med
      Impact on Mold (wear): Low
      Advantages: Good weatherability, recyclable, good UV Resistance, good adhesion, good colorability
      Disadvantages:
      Common Uses: Rubber replacement, bushings, seals
      Brand Examples: Elastocon, Santoprene
    • THERMOPLASTIC POLYURETHANE (TPE/TPU)
      Strength: Med
      Strength at Elevated Temp: Low   Med
      Resistance to Impact: Med
      Material Flow: Low
      Resistance to Shrinkage/Warpage: Med
      Resistance to Flash: Med
      Cost of Resin: Med
      Impact on Mold (wear): Low
      Advantages: Wide durometer range, oil, chemical and hydrolysis resistant, good wear resistance
      Disadvantages: Limited service temperature, processability
      Common Uses: Gaskets, surgical instruments, sporting goods
      Brand Examples: Celstran, Elastollan