Classification of Plastics

Thermoplastics and thermosets are the two basic categorizations of plastic. Thermoplastics can be melted and molded repeatedly. This plastic is typically brought to manufacturers in the form of pellets.  Thermosets cannot be reformed once they become a solid. This plastic is brought to manufacturers in liquid and powder forms.

Most plastics are a combination of both types. Below is a list of the most common plastic compounds, with an example of each.

Acetal – Gas Tank Cap

Acrylic – Tail Lights

Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) – Pipes

Alkyds – Circuit Breaker Insulation

Cellulosics – Toys

Coumarone-Indene – Asphalt Floor Tiles

Diallyl Phthalate (DP) – Laminates

Epoxy – Sealants

Fluoropolymer – Non-Stick Cookware

Malamine-Formaldehyde – Dinnerware

Nitrile Resins – Packaging

Nylon – Woman’s Nylon Stockings

Petroleum Resins – Printing Inks

Phenolic – Plywood Glue

Polyamide-Imide – Heavy Equipment

Polyarylates – Outdoor Lighting

Polybutylene – Packaging Film

Polycarbonate – Water Bottles

Polyethylene – Plastic Containers

Polyimides – Piston Rings

Polyphenylene Oxide (Modified) – Automotive Parts

Polyphenylene Sulfide – Electronics

Polypropylene – Carpeting

Polystyrene – Television/Radio Housings

Polyurethanes – Safety Padding

Polyvinyl Acetate (PVAc) – Paints

Polyvinyl Chloride – Upholstery

Styrene Acrylonitrile – Automobile Panels

Sulfone Polymers – Electronics

Thermoplastic Polyester – X-Ray Film

Unsaturated Polyester – Fishing Poles

Urea-Formaldehyde – Rigid Decorative Products