What are ABS plastic sheets used for?
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene plastic is engineered thermoplastic material. It’s often called simply ABS plastic. Since the opaque raw material is versatile, there are a wide range of uses for niche industries. The most common usage is in the manufacture of 3D printing products and in the plastic injection molding industry. An ABS plastic sheet comes in assorted colors, shapes and sizes, providing ample opportunities in both commercial and industrial applications.
Acrilex has 50 years in the field of plastics and quality fabrication. With five easy to access locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina, the employee-owned company believes in the mantra that the customer comes first. This means you always get the best stocked products, quick deliveries and quality fabrication for all your ABS plastic usage needs.
Why Is ABS Plastic So Popular?
While the popularity of ABS thermoplastics may stem from the diversity of uses, most manufacturers love the stress and chemical resistance of the ABS plastic products. Another factor is the fact that ABS plastic usage doesn’t harm the environment, since the material is 100 percent biodegradable.
The three monomers behind the ABS plastic properties set a good quality foundation. The wear-and-tear, robust nature of the plastic is derived from acrylonitrile, while butadiene delivers the elastic characteristics that improves its toughness and ductility at low temperatures. Styrene resembles an oil resin, making the ABS shiny and hard, but easy to process. Other properties of ABS that make industries lean towards this product include:
- High impact resistance
- High tensile strength at about 46 MPa
- Flexural strength at 74 MPa
- Superior rigidity
- High shock-resistant characteristics
- Excellent dimensional stability
- Resistant to diluted acids and alkalis
- Easy to paint and glue
- High heat resistance
- Perfect for injection molding
- Easy for thermoform processing
- Low melting point
- Energy efficient during manufacturing
What Products Are Made from ABS Plastic?
The oil and gas, aerospace, medicine, pharmaceutical, food processing and material conveying industries all rely on ABS. The large scope of ABS plastic uses is undeniable. The heated plastic granules easily liquefy, due to the lower melting point of 221 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing you to mold the plastic into complex shapes.
Most four-by-eight ABS plastic sheets come in sizes from 3mm to 12mm, making them easier to bend and mold for various purposes. You may be surprised to learn that some of the most commonly used items are made from this such as:
- Gardening tools. Shovels, rakes, hoes, claws and other hand tools are fabricated from lightweight ABS plastic material.
- Medical applications. While ABS isn’t used for medical implants as there are still concerns about whether the plastic is completely non-toxic, it is used in other medical devices, such as nebulizers, drug delivery systems and compressors.
- Automotive parts. All components that benefit from weight reduction factors — like dashboards, seat belt components, seat backs, handles, pickup truck caps and trim parts — are made from ABS plastics.
- Electrical and electronic components. Computer keyboards, printer parts and similar electronic parts use ABS, due to the electrical insulation property of the plastic.
- Musical instruments. Clarinets, tambourines, harmonicas, flutes, bugles and percussion instruments all have ABS plastic.
- Vacuum construction. The upright and canister casings make vacuums economical to manufacture since the durability allows for rough ABS plastic usage.
- Marine parts. Sails for boats and similar marine components use ABS due to the low moisture absorption.
- Commercial appliances. ABS plastic use in refrigerator liners, control panels and even food processors may surprise you, yet the plastic is an affordable way to manufacture these products.
- Lego brand bricks are made from ABS, along with several of your popular toys.
- Food and water vessels. You may ask: Is ABS plastic safe for food and water? Both the USDA and FDA have approved ABS plastic usage, as the containers and water bottles withstand the constant wear and tear from daily use.
- Sports equipment. It’s is easy to spot as golf clubs, jet skis, rackets and cycle parts all contain ABS.
When comparing ABS material vs. plastic, ABS almost always comes out ahead. Is ABS material strong? It’s considerably stronger than PVC and other types of plastic. A good application is drain, waste and vent pipes, since you never have to question: Does ABS plastic break easily? It doesn’t break easily or split when frozen. The ductile nature makes the material the ideal choice in extreme weather conditions.
What Are the Disadvantages of ABS Plastics?
One of the biggest advocates for the ABS plastic is the sheer power and stamina of the weight it upholds: between 209 to 284 pounds. This makes ABS a very strong material. Yet despite this strength, the plastic does have certain shortcomings. Some factors to consider include:
- It isn’t free of BPA, a potentially toxic ingredient that medical experts have recently warned about.
- It has poor fatigue resistance.
- It’s shown a poor reaction to solvents or grease.
- In a high friction environment, it shows weathering.
- It isn’t resistant to sunlight, so it doesn’t do well in UV light exposure.
- The maximum heat it can withstand is 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
The properties of ABS plastic in extremely hot temperatures create a weakness. The compounds completely break down in high heat, resulting in black fumes and a foul odor. Medical experts warn not to inhale the smoke as it may cause health issues. To overcome this major flaw, there are fire resistant ABS plastic sheets that come with a protective shield.
Where Can I Find ABS Plastic Sheets?
No matter how you want to use plastic, you have the option of deciding the type of plastic you use. ABS plastic use has more advantages than disadvantages, making it the best choice for nearly every industry application.
When you contact Acrilex at any of their five locations, you feel the difference an employee-owned company makes. Acrilex leads by experience, adopting state-of-the-art techniques within the industry. Whether you’re looking for products for your interiors or need something built for a manufacturing plant, the Acrilex team is the right choice.