The Pros and Cons of Amorphous Thermoplastics

Posted on: 19 June 2017


You may be wondering what amorphous thermoplastics are as you search for the best engineering plastics to use in your application. This article discusses some of the pros and cons of amorphous thermoplastics, such as ABS and nylon. Use this information to make an informed decision about the suitability of this type of engineering plastics for your needs.

The Pros

Transparency. Amorphous thermoplastics are usually transparent. This makes them a good fit for applications where visibility is needed. For instance, they can be used in fluid systems so that one can see how much fluid is available without opening the equipment. This is unlike semi-crystalline thermoplastics, such as PTFE (Teflon, for example), that are naturally opaque.

Easy Bonding. Amorphous thermoplastics are also easy to bond to each other or to other materials. This is because adhesives and bonding solvents are compatible with their chemical structure. You will therefore not have to incur the high cost of buying special adhesives or solvents in case you use this engineering plastic in your application.

Good Formability. Amorphous thermoplastics are a good choice if you want engineering plastics that you will subject to some form of processing, such as shaping, before you use them at your plant. This is because these plastics have very good formability.

Superior Tensile Strength. Amorphous thermoplastics perform very well due to their ability to resist tensile forces. This makes them suitable for use for structural purposes in different settings, such as in machine parts.

The Cons

Poor Chemical Resistance. Amorphous thermoplastics aren't suitable for use in environments where they will be exposed to various chemicals. This is because they are susceptible to chemicals attacks.

Prone to Stress Cracking. This weakness makes these materials less desirable for applications where the component will be load-bearing, such as in machine bearings. You should therefore avoid selecting an amorphous thermoplastic if your application requires a material with high resistance to stress cracking.

Poor Fatigue Resistance. Amorphous thermoplastics are not good at taking repeated loading during their use. They should therefore not be used in environments where frequent vibration and other fatigue factors exist.

Other types of engineering plastics, such as imidised plastics and semi-crystalline plastics exist. It is therefore advisable to talk to an expert about those other types so that you know their strengths and weaknesses. It will then be possible for you to select the best engineering plastics for your application. You can even select a few types so that they are tested before you commit to using any specific type of plastic.