Polypropylene, one of the most common plastic materials, is a thermoplastic polymer of propylene. It is noted for its lightweight structure and resistance to moisture and heat. Polypropylene (PP) is less dense than water and has a melting point of 320°F.
Polypropylene is often used to manufacture tools that need to be regularly sterilized. Polypropylene, commonly known as PP, is similar to polyethylene in that it is affordable financially, but polypropylene is much stronger. Polypropylene has been available in sheet form since the 1960s. It is available in an assortment of thicknesses and can be manufactured to meet the needs of various industries. Like PVC, also known as polyvinyl chloride, it is also able to retain color and is therefore available in a variety of hues as well.
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Shapes of Polypropylene
Polypropylene manufacturers can form this plastic material into a variety of shapes, including:
It can also be utilized as a fiber and structural plastic.
Shaping Processes of Polypropylene
Polypropylene may be shaped for further manufacturing through two major processes; extrusion and molding.
- The extrusion of PP involves melt-blown and spun-bond fibers of polypropylene that are stretched and rolled up, and shipped to manufacturers.
- The molding of PP involves heating, mixing, and forcing the substance into a die-cast mold, where it then hardens in that shape. Molds are made from sturdy metals or plastics that will not be affected nor will taint the melted plastic inside them.
Purposes of Polypropylene
Due to its many favorable attributes and low cost, polypropylene serves many purposes.
- Various Textiles
- Plastic Furniture
- Food Packaging
- Reusable Containers
- Floating Ropes
- Automotive Components
- Military Thermal Clothing
Characteristics of Polypropylene
Polypropylene is dishwasher safe. It is also popular for manufacturing food storage containers. For recycling purposes, the Society of Plastics Industry has given specific resin identification codes to plastics according to their polymer structure. These numbers are specified on the bottom of recyclable objects; they are enclosed in a rounded triangle outlined in clockwise arrows. For example, polypropylene is recyclable and carries the number five under its PP symbol. Research continues with polypropylene, as it does with many plastic substances. Scientists are experimenting with different synthesizing methods that change the chemical body of the plastic, resulting in physical variances. Some of these experiments yield new types of polypropylene that are very exciting, particularly those that have a softer feel than the rigidness of the current polypropylene substances. Because these newer versions of polypropylene have more elasticity, they are much more shatter resistant and therefore open up new options for industries already utilizing it.