Monday 5 April 2021

Rule of Thumb for Polymer Material Selection: The Big 5 for Fast Decision Making


Rule of Thumb for polymer material selection: The Big 5 Polymers for Fast Decision Making

In nature, the big 5 are often referred to as lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and African buffalo. In polymer material selection, the big 5 allow you to make a quick estimation and decision on suitability for the planned application.

What are the big five for a quick assessment in polymer material selection and faster decision making?

This we discuss in today's post.  

Polypropylene (PP): is a commercial favorable solution with a good property balance up to 100°C. Limitations are in surface aesthetics, however if those are not critical, PP is a good choice.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS): it is an all-rounder and suitable for many applications and it is strong and relatively tough, combined with a low melting point. Furthermore, ABS has good processing properties and is in a reasonable price range.

Polycarbonate (PC): allows realization of applications which have higher temperature resistance as well as impact performance needs. PC is the next best candidate going from ABS.

Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA):  offers a good overall aesthetics and transparency which makes it a good candidate for applications with the need of optimal appearance. Limitations of PMMA are for applications with higher impact needs (PMMA shows brittle behavior). PC will be tougher than PMMA, however the surface aesthetics might not fulfill the application needs. PS can be suitable for single use applications.

Polyamide (PA): aliphatic polyamides are the best for higher engineering demands. Polyamide 6.6 with glass fiber reinforcement is well established in several engineering applications, especially in automotive. If higher temperature resistance is needed (120-140°C), than aromatic polyamides (e.g. polyphthalamide (PPA)) are the choice of material.

In the table below we summarize the characteristics of engineering and commodity grades which additionally help during the selection process:


Characteristics of most common commodity plastics

Characteristics of the most common engineering plastics

Thanks for reading and #findoutaboutplastics



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