Types of Additives used to make Plastic Products

Types of Additives used to make Plastic Products

Types of Additives used to make Plastic Products

In addition to additives, all plastics contain one or more polymers. Typically, polymers are not sold until some additive has been added to them. However, it is widely accepted in the thermoplastics sector that the materials used contain trace levels of additives. For example, thermoplastics such as heat stabilizers and lubricants cannot be utilized commercially unless additives are added.


Polymer characteristics utilized in plastic products may be greatly altered by manufacturing conditions and the addition of additives. With additives, several formulas of basic materials are available, and they provide


Injection moulding machines are forms of processing equipment that are frequently fed with plastic material and a masterbatch. A masterbatch is a combination of one or more additives added to a primary polymer substance. There are advantages to utilizing this mixture, one of which is that it typically results in significant cost savings because a compounding phase can be eliminated.


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A masterbatch is generally only used to colour a finished product. However, they may also contain additional ingredients, which can cause problems. As a result, the moulded parts' characteristics may become inconsistent.

Materials Modification:

The term "materials modification" frequently refers to the addition of more additives. Elastomers, flame retardants, and fillers are examples of these additives.

Fillers and Reinforcements:

Materials modification, such as adding fibres or fillers, is commonly employed with engineering thermoplastics to achieve a desirable mix of qualities. For example, it is well known that fibrous fillers, such as glass fibre increase modulus. In addition, using fillers means that plastic material can be elevated from one category to another, such as the commodity resin polypropylene, which can be transformed into an engineering plastic by the use of boosting ingredients.


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Impact Modification - Elastomer Addition:

An impact modifier is a type of elastomer or rubber that adds toughness when combined with a thermoplastic material. These additives are commonly used in engineering thermoplastics for applications requiring high impact strength (for example, automotive bumpers).


Furthermore, the impact strength of commodity resins can be increased by the inclusion of impact modifiers. For example, when rubber is added to styrene prior to polymerization, a thermoplastic material is known as high impact polystyrene (HIPS, TPS, or IPS) is formed. In addition, rubbers are frequently added to other materials, such as polypropylene (PP), to improve their low-temperature impact strength.

Flame Retardants:

Most polymers will burn because they are carbon-based. This is because a carbon-based material starts reacting (burning) after coming in contact with ambient oxygen, producing carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Halogen atoms, on the other hand, such as bromine and chlorine, produce compounds that are naturally fire or flame retardant. PVC is a notable example, as the halogen atom is "built-in" to the molecular structure of the plastic molecule.


Plasticizers, which are often liquids, have initially been added to plastic materials like cellulose and PVC that need to be processed at lower temperatures than those that help them decompose thermally. Almost all commercial plasticizers are phthalate compounds containing dioctyl phthalate (DOP) and di-iso-octyl phthalate (DIOOP) (DIOP). The addition of these elements to PVC results in plasticized PVC (PPVC).

Softeners and Extenders:

The term "softener" is frequently used in the rubber business to describe compounds such as hydrocarbon oils, which are utilized as additives for hydrocarbon rubbers/elastomers. They produce soft chemicals that flow very easily. Extenders, which are usually connected with PPVC, are referred to as "liquid fillers."


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Anti-Aging Additives:

Because heat and light frequently affect the properties of polymeric materials during normal usage or processing, anti-aging chemicals are commonly utilized with them. The chemical reactions of oxidation, ozone attack, dehydrochlorination, and ultraviolet (UV) assault occur within a material or on its surface and are induced by heat and light.


Polymers are frequently lubricated. This is done to prevent the polymer from adhering to the processing equipment or to allow the polymer compound to flow more freely. Stearic acid is an example of a lubricant utilized, and it is added to PVC to prevent the compound from sticking to the processing equipment.


Colouring techniques use a colouring system spread throughout a polymer and are used for the majority of plastic components. Colourants are classified into two categories: dyes and pigments. Dyes are colouring systems that are soluble and, in most cases, organic. They produce transparent colours. Pigments are insoluble substances that are distributed to form opaque hues. Pigments are the most commonly used colourants. Black (carbon black) and white are the most widely utilized hues (TiO2).

Blowing Agents:

Several polymeric compounds are gas cell-occupied cellular materials. A gas (typically nitrogen) can be introduced in two ways: during processing or by using a chemical component known as a blowing agent to produce the gas when needed. The azo compounds are a widely utilized family of blowing agents because they are organic chemicals with the capacity to be organized, allowing them to break down within a relatively small temperature range at melt processing temperatures.

Cross-Linking Additives:

A variety of polymers can be cross-linked, which means they are cured, vulcanized, or set, and after shaping (which occurs during processing), they can result in either vulcanized rubber (an elastomer) or a thermosetting plastic substance. Sulfur, used with diene rubbers, and peroxides, which are used with particular rubbers and polyolefins, are two well-known cross-linking systems. Accelerators accelerate the cross-linking reaction and are frequently associated with cross-linking systems. In turn, an accelerator can only work effectively in the presence of an activator.


Litter is sometimes considered an issue when creating plastic. Once a plastic element has served its purpose, it frequently becomes a nuisance, and the once helpful constituent is discarded. The usage of plastic materials exacerbates this problem in packaging. To address this issue, the plastic material is subjected to disintegration or deterioration by incorporating a filler, such as starch, into the plastic material.

Reclaimed Material:

Reclaimed (or recycled) material is the most commonly utilized addition in thermoplastic polymers. This additive can be used to cut down on component prices. However, to guarantee that the flow parameters of the mix stay constant, it is critical that this addition (as with any additive) be introduced at a consistent, pre-determined ratio. It should also be mentioned that the reclaimed material must be clean, dry, and of uniform particle size.

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