Repeatable Memory Polymers
There has been an amazing discovery in the plastic industry.
Researchers have discovered a polymer that is able to change shape
automatically and repetitively. The shape shifting is prompted by the
temperature and when the material reaches a pre-determined temperature then the
plastic will shift into the new position. Once the plastic cools it reverts
back to the original form. This new innovation, known as a “polymer actuator”,
has the potential to be utilized in a wide range of industries. One of the main
advantages of this new polymer design is the fact that it requires no outside
electricity to create a linear motion.
Another interesting innovation in the plastic industry is hand
moldable plastic. This plastic has a very low melting point and can easily be
formed into any desired shape. This product is ideal in situations where a
handcrafted plastic solution is necessary perhaps for an attachment or
component replacement. The process to utilize this innovation is simple; heat
the plastic between 136°F - 140°F and then it is ready to be molded. A big
advantage with this type of plastic is it can be reformed an infinite number of
times. This moldable plastic is ideal for prototyping, quick fixes and unique
These two advances in the plastic industry are only examples
of the innovation potential from the industry. The repeatability and usability
of these products are key factors to their success. Certain applications that
require linear motion could greatly benefit from the self sustaining feature of
the polymer actuator. Further manipulation of these materials on the molecular
level will expose a plethora of discoveries that can be beneficial for
consumers as well as manufacturers.
Plastic shapes are specially-formed plastic objects that have been
processed by a plastic shaping process. There are many plastic shaping
processes, and they include molding, extrusion, casting and other
methods. Each method is intended to create a different kind of plastic
shape. Molding, for example, is the process best suited for the creation
of complex, discrete products. Examples of discrete products include
fasteners, pallets and cases for small electronics. Extrusion, on the
other hand, allows for the creation of complex, continuous products.
Examples of continuous products are trim, hoses and tubes.
Industry and commerce require broad access to discrete plastic shapes as well as plastic shapes produced by continuous manufacturing processes like extrusion. Extruded plastic products like PVC pipes, plastic hoses, plastic tubes, trim, channels and coextrusions are used extensively in all kinds of applications. Plumbing, gardening, chemical processing, building construction and furnishing depend heavily on extruded plastics. A wide variety of plastic materials can be extruded including high and low density polyethylene, butyrate, vinyl, polypropylene, polystyrene and acrylic materials. The extrusion process involves heating and pressurizing these raw materials and then shaping them with a die into usable products.
The plastic extrusion process takes place in a few steps. First, the raw thermoplastic material, in flake or pellet form, is poured into a hopper. From there it is fed down into a conveyance channel where it is heated by the turning of a large shearing screw. The friction caused by the turning of the screw combined with heat from electric heating elements causes the plastic to become molten by the time it reaches the end of the channel. At the end of the channel is a die, which is a tool used to shape raw materials into useful products. In the case of plastic extrusion, the die is a specially-cut shape in a metal plate through which the molten plastic passes. Once the plastic has become molten, it is forced through the die and emerges on the other side as a newly extruded plastic shape. Once extruded, the shape is allowed to cool and harden. It can then be cut to the appropriate length and either sent for shipment or prepared for additional processing like painting or labeling.
Plastic Shapes - Polytec Plastics, Inc.
Plastic Shapes - Polytec Plastics, Inc.
Plastic Shapes Informational Video