Plastic influences every activity in modern life and many depend entirely on plastics products. Imagine cars without plastic bumper, dashboards, steering wheels and switches; medicine without plastic hypodermic syringes and artificial hip joints. And what about telecommunications, dependent on plastic telephones, circuit boards, and cable insulation. Our entertainment and leisure relies on the unique combination of characteristics offered by plastics in sports equipment and clothing, CDs, video and audio tape, television and cinema – indeed you wouldn’t be able to read this over the internet without plastics! All these plastics products are made from the essential polymer mixed with a complex blend of materials known collectively as additives. Without additives, plastics would not work, but with plastic additives, they can be made safer, cleaner, sturdier and more colorful. Plastic Additives cost money, of course, but by reducing production costs and making products last longer, they help us to save money and conserve the world’s precious raw material reserves. Our world today would be a lot less safe, a lot more expensive and a great deal duller without the additives that turn basic polymers into useful plastics. Here are some of the advantages plastic additives provide us with. As there are numerous, this blog is divided into two parts of which this is the first.
Plastic additives Make Plastics Easier To Process
Making things out of plastics is like playing a game with molecules. plastic additives aim to re-organize them into new shapes without their changing color, sticking to the mold, or doing anything that could spoil the finished article. plastic additives help with all these problems. Processing plastics without plastic additives is virtually impossible.
Consider the range of plastics available and the wide variety of plastic objects in everyday use. From fizzy drinks bottles and carrier bags to window frames and computers, it is clear that there are many different ways of forming plastics. Most of these processes involve melting polymer powder or granules inside a heated tube. This ‘melt’ is forced through a shaped die, injected into a mold, or rolled or blown into a flat film. The ease with which this is done depends on the physical and chemical properties of each plastic material and can be improved through the use of certain plastic additives known as PROCESS AIDS.
Process aids melt during the molding process and form a liquid around color particles for better mixing. Other plastic additives make the individual polymer particles adhere more to each other inside the tube so that they melt quicker. This means that the molding temperature can be lower which saves energy and prevents or minimizes heat damage to the plastics.
Antioxidants, Lubricants and Heat Stabilizers
Certain plastics can be difficult to process because they become viscous and sticky when they melt. Lubricants help reduce viscosity by creating a film between the mold and the polymer melt, and by lubricating the polymer particles against each other. More intricate shapes can be molded, and the temperature can be lowered. Most plastics have to be processed at over 180 degree celsius, a temperature which unfortunately can sometimes spoil the color and weaken or embrittle the plastic. However, these effects can be prevented or minimized by plastic additives known as ANTIOXIDANTS, which are unique compounds such as Vitamin E, which help protect the plastic under hostile conditions. Other plastic additives called HEAT STABILISERS help stop plastics from decomposing during processing.
Plastic Additives make Plastics look good
What is it about plastics objects that catch our attention? Is it the shape? Is it usefulness? Is it color? Plastics are colored using two main methods. The surface can be painted or printed after molding, or plastic additives called PIGMENTS can be incorporated before or during molding. With this method, color pigments can create all sorts of decorative effects that go all the way through the object and of course, will never wear off. This property, coupled with the range of molding techniques available, gives designers today great freedom when working with plastics.
Pigments are tiny particles which have to be evenly mixed into the polymer in its molten state. Colourists specialize in scientifically devising shades suitable for all types of situations. Through skillful manipulation of plastic additives, plastics components can be color matched with parts made from other materials such as wood, metal and fabrics, cars radios and kitchen appliances all use this technique.
Fashion is a word that not only covers clothes and accessories but also includes, tableware, kitchenware, and office equipment. In all these areas, pigments enable plastics to offer an endlessly variable palette of colors, as vivid as any other media. Colour in plastics also has many non-decorative functions. It can be used to cut down light to protect the contents of a package, for example in medicine bottles. It can be used as an essential danger signal. Often it is used to protect and conceal, as in dashboards, machine housings, and pipes. To keep the molding opaque, pigments are chosen that absorb or scatter light very well. The most common, cost-effective way of creating a solid color is to use carbon black or titanium dioxide. Carbon black absorbs light, whereas titanium dioxide, with its high refractive index, scatters light, producing a very high level of whiteness and brightness. It is part of a range of inorganic pigments and is mixed with other colors to create pastel shades. Organic pigments are also suitable for making bright colors.
Plastic Additives Save Money
There are two vacuum cleaners in a shop. They both look attractive and offer the same attachments, but one is on special offer. Unknown to the customer, the cheaper appliance has been made from plastics components that contain no plastic additives. Does this make any difference? What are plastic additives for anyway? Is the more affordable machine better value?
Without an IMPACT MODIFIER, the vacuum cleaner will crack if it is bumped around the furniture and skirting boards in the usual way. But since it would contain no pigments, it would already look drab and dirty. More worrying would be the lack of FLAME RETARDANTS, for if an electrical spark causes the plastics housing to catch fire, it will burn dangerously without being able to extinguish itself. And this vacuum cleaner is the one on special offer? The other model may cost more, but in the end, will prove to be more cost-effective. The plastic additives that assist the molding of plastics, such as lubricants, process aids, and heat stabilizers, can cost many times more than the polymeric raw material, and although only small amounts are used, they are nevertheless essential and greatly enhance the final performance of the finished article.
Other plastic additives such as MINERAL FILLERS like chalk, talc, and clay, are naturally occurring substances and are cheaper than the raw polymer. However, they are not necessarily used to reduce cost, but for the benefits, they give to the primary material: talc and chalk increase rigidity, clay improves electrical properties. Mineral fillers also increase the thermal conductivity of plastics so that they heat up and cool down quickly, meaning shorter mold cycle times and more articles produced at a lower cost. When a small saving of 0.5p per molding may not sound much, but if it involves creating several injection moldings every few seconds this ‘small’ saving can amount to many tens of thousands of pounds over a year. There is a wide variety of plastic additives available to help reduce costs.
Oxygreen Plastics are best masterbatch manufacturers in India. Our Plastic Additives enhance the degradation of Plastics.
Get in touch with us and let’s together make a greener planet.