ABS Thermoplaste Tiefziehen
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ABS Thermoplastic
Vacuum formed from ABS plastic
ABS   - Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene

ABS is a terpolymer of acrylonitrile, butadiene and styrene and usually composed of about half styrene with the balance divided between butadiene and acrylonitrile. Acrylonitrile and styrene provide for the chemical resistance, hardness and heat resistance while butadiene adds the impact resistance.

Styrene Acrylonitrile (SAN) copolymers had been available in the 1940’s and it's increased strength over styrene made it suitable for many applications. It's limitations led to the addition of butadiene as a third monomer during research work emanating from a wartime program aimed at producing large quantities of synthetic rubber. Hence was born the material referred to as ABS plastic. ABS was patented in 1948 and subsequently introduced to commercial markets in 1954 by the Borg-Warner Corporation. It's variability and ease of processing has made ABS today's most widely used plastic.

ABS Properties

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene thermoplastic has high tensile strength, dimensional stability, surface hardness and rigidity over a wide temperature range. Specific grades exhibit good impact strength at temperatures as low as -40°C (-40°F). It is flexible, chemically resistant, has a glossy finish and a relatively low manufacturing cost. ABS is therefore used in very wide range of products from toys to automotive parts.

Considerable variations and grades of ABS are attainable with the inclusion of additives and through varied ratios, resulting in a wide range of features to improve upon the impact resistance, toughness, and heat resistance. Additives to protect against ultraviolet radiation are also available as are fire retardant and electroplating grades. ABS is readily blended with other polymers such as polyvinylchloride, polycarbonates and polysulfones, further increasing the range of properties available.

The final properties are influenced, to some extent, by conditions under which the material is heated and cooled during the thermoforming process. Molding ABS at a high temperatures improves the gloss and heat resistance while molding at low temperatures yields the highest impact resistance and strength.

Natural ABS plastic is an opaque white or ivory color that is easily colored with pigments or dyes. ABS can be coated with varnish, chromium plated or painted with acrylic or polyester. It can also be glued to itself by the use of a glue containing solvent or glued to other materials with polyurethane or epoxy based adhesives.

ABS Applications

ABS is the world's most commonly used engineered plastic due to its versatility and is utilized in a huge range of product applications.

Toughness, strength and high quality surface finish make ABS the plastic of choice for consumer goods such as small kitchen appliances, refrigerator interiors, telephone handsets, computer and printer housings, suitcases and business machines. Sport and safety helmets and equipment are also manufactured from Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene thermoplastics.

The sharp and vivid color possibilities of ABS make it the plastic of choice for toy manufacturers the world over. LEGO, the famous construction toys, has used ABS to produce their colorful interlocking plastic bricks since 1963. Many musical instruments including clarinets, recorders and piano movements are also produced of ABS.

Because of the ability to tailor ABS grades to the property requirements such as heat resistance, electrical insulation, tensile strength, dimensional stability, surface hardness, flame resistance and weatherability for outdoor use, ABS is used extensively in major manufacturing such as the automotive and aeronautical industries. Automotive interior and exterior components, boat hulls, airliner interiors and large components for recreational vehicles are just some of the many uses for ABS plastics.

Other commonly used thermoplastics

HDPE High Density Polyethylene
LDPE Low Density Polyethylene
PC Polycarbonate
PET Polyethylene terephthalate
PMMA Polymethyl methacrylate
PP Polypropylene
PS Polysytrene
PVC Polyvinyl chloride
Vacuum formed from ABS plastic

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