Know Your Options: Different Plastics for Different Uses

PVC pipes being laid outPlastic is some of the most common materials in the world. In fact, there are more than eight billion tons of them. They don’t have the same kind, though, so it’s safe to say that not all plastics are ideal for certain types of applications. These include commercial and industrial.

What are Plastics?

Plastics are polymers or substances composed of bonded or linked chains of molecules. Although synthetic, their raw materials can be organic. These include cellulose, wool, and even crude oil. Some of them may also have salt, coal, or natural gas.

This information is interesting since it takes many years for such materials to decay. Why? There’s hardly any microorganism that can consume plastic. In the process, they stay in the environment for as long as 450 years.

Different Kinds of Plastics

The materials, manufacturing methods, and molecular structures spell the differences among the plastics. It also means they can have specific uses:

1. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

It’s plastic made from petroleum. It began to appear in the 1950s and continue to be popular for a variety of reasons. First, it’s flexible in terms of design. It can be sturdy (like a hard hat) or soft (like a plastic bag). It’s also known for its high tensile strength.

This material can resist impact and is therefore not prone to cracks. It’s also durable and weather-resistant. If you’re in the plumbing industry, for instance, companies such as sell these types of plastic pipes to various industries. These include drainage, natural gas, and sewage.

2. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

This is the third most popular kind of plastic, and chlorine is one of the raw materials used. Like HDPE, it’s also soft and flexible. It can also be rigid. These factors are some of the reasons many people get confused with the two. One of the significant differences between them, however, is their density.

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3. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

PET is polyester, which is a type of fabric. With the right chemical composition, it can become rigid but easy to mould. It’s one of the most common materials for packaging, as it doesn’t shatter and are cheap to manufacture. Over the years, this material has been a subject for controversy since manufacturers use it to store food and water. So far, the general consensus says that it’s safe.

When it comes to plastic, the choice always depends on one thing: the need. When in doubt, distributors can guide you better.