Polypropylene plastic is considered to be one of the most versatile plastics available and is widely used as one of the most common plastics used today. You will find this plastic all over your house- from athletic clothes, to rugs, to batteries, this plastic lends itself to a variety of applications.
On the crystallinity level, Polypropylene is located between low-density polyethene (LPE) and high-density polyethene (HDPE. It is durable, has a good tensile strength (around 4 800psi) and doesn’t react with water, detergents, acids or bases, ensuring that it won’t break easily.
Polypropylene is flexible and tough, with resistance to fatigue. This means that it can be used on items that are going to have high stress. Polypropylene is also used in carpeting and rugs due to its colourfastness. Polypropylene can be easily copolymerised with other polymers like polyethene, allowing for more robust engineering applications than those possible with pure polypropylene.
Its high resistance to electricity makes it very useful for electronic components. The low cost of Polypropylene makes it budget friendly for several uses and it can be melted and reformed into plastic pellets, which are then used to create new products. It is, therefore, suitable for recycling programmes.
As one of its few negative characteristics, Polypropylene can be difficult to bond to other surfaces, as it has a relatively slippery surface.
Polypropylene production takes place by slurry, solution or gas phase process, whereby the propylene monomer is subjected to heat and pressure in the presence of a catalyst system. Polypropylene is a major tonnage polymer with a growth rate higher than the norm for these thermoplastics. The growth rate is partially due to the versatility of polypropylene which explains the wide range of application areas. Virtually all thermoplastic processing methods can process polypropylene, but typically polypropylene products are manufactured by extrusion blow moulding, general purpose extrusion and injection moulding.
Polypropylene is used to produce battery cases, bottle caps, bowls, carpet fibres, crates, medical components, packaging films, sports clothing, toys and washing machine drums.
Polypropylene is a multi-functional plastic that is useful across various industries and uses. Its versatility and robustness ensure that it is a commonly used material, one that has an enormous impact on human’s daily product use.
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