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Variety of Plastic Additives used in the Plastic Industry

Variety of Plastic Additives used in the Plastic Industry May 17, 2019Leave a comment
plastic additives

Of all the colorful plastics we use, plastic additives are the ones which provide properties to them. Let’s know the different types of plastic additives that are imbibed in our plastics for daily use.  

Anti Counterfeiting

Function: There are many ways manufacturers and brand owners can combat counterfeiting by employing one of several or indeed multilayer anti-counterfeiting technologies. Optical brighteners absorb ultraviolet and violet light then re-emit this energy at a higher wavelength, generally as a blue glow.

Antimicrobials/Biostabilisers

Function: Help prevent deterioration of plastic materials where part of the material might be susceptible to microbiological attack. Such attacks can cause staining, discoloration, and loss of aesthetics but more importantly, damage to electrical insulating properties, hygiene and overall loss of mechanical properties in the material.

Antioxidants

Function: Help prevent “oxidation,” the polymer reacting with oxygen. Oxidation can cause loss of impact strength, elongation, surface cracks, and discoloration. Antioxidants help prevent thermal oxidation reactions when plastics are processed at high temperatures and light-assisted oxidation when plastics are exposed to UV light.

Antistatic Agents

Function: Help to prevent the build-up of static electric charge.  Plastics are generally insulating, and so can build up static charges on the surface which greatly disturb processing procedures and can be an issue for hygiene and aesthetics.

Biodegradable Plasticisers

Function: Used to make plastics softer and more flexible and to enhance the degradability of the product.

Blowing Agents

Function: Form gases in the plastic to produce a foam material.  The blowing agents form gases by breaking down on heating at a predetermined temperature and create a foam structure within the plastic’s polymer matrix.

External Lubricants

Function: To prevent damage to plastics or the mold during processing. Applied to the material or directly to the machine to allow processing without loss.

Fillers/Extenders

Function: Natural substances used to improve strength and lower the cost of the material. Usually mineral-based, fillers/extenders increase the overall “bulk” of the plastic.

Flame Retardants

Function: To prevent ignition or spread of flame in plastic material.  Plastics see substantial use in critical construction, electrical and transport applications which have to meet fire safety standards either by mandatory regulations or voluntary measures.  Flame retardants are added to plastics to meet these requirements.

Fragrances

Function: Fragrances and deodorants for plastics are used in a variety of applications and are products for the home.

Heat Stabilisers

Function: To prevent decomposition of the polymer during processing. Processing usually results in temperatures well above 180 deg Celsius, which without the addition of heat stabilizers would result in the plastic material falling apart

Impact Modifiers

Function: Enables plastic products to absorb shocks and resist impact without cracking. Particularly relevant for polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS) and polypropylene (PP) materials.

Internal Lubricants

Function: Used to improve the processability of plastics by increasing the flowability. Internal lubricants improve the melt flow of material by lowering the viscosity and heat dissipation (also see Processing Aids)

Light Stabilisers

Function: Used to inhibit the reactions in plastics which cause undesirable chemical degradation from exposure to UV light.

Pigments

Function: Tiny particles used to create a particular color.

Plasticizers

Function: Used to make plastics softer and more flexible.

Process Aids

Function: Used to improve the processability of plastics by increasing the flowability.  Internal lubricants improve the melt flow of material by lowering the viscosity and heat dissipation (Also see Internal Lubricants) High-polymeric processing aids also enhance the flowability of PVC compounds.

Reinforcements

Function: Used to reinforce or improve tensile strength, flexural strength, and stiffness of the material. Often fiber-based.

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