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The Definition, Characteristics and Classification of Plastics


Pimpex Plastic, China presents the definition, characteristics and classification of plastics for your reference.

The definition of plastic

  • Plastic refers to those materials which could flowage molding during machining process, plastic mainly consists of resin, rosin, colophony (or directly polymerized from monomers during machining process), plastic also consists of some additives as assistant components such as plasticizer, filling materials, lubricant, colorant, etc.

The characteristics of plastic:

  • Most plastic have light weight, chemical stability, stainless
  • Good impact resistance
  • Good transparent and wearable performance
  • Good electric isolation and low heat exchange rate
  • Good molding and good colorization performance, low machining cost
  • Most plastic are poor in heat resistant, with higher heat expansion rate and easily burnt
  • Poor sizes stability, easily distortion
  • Most plastic are poor in low temperature resistant, easily turned into brittle at low temperature
  • Easily aging
  • Some plastic are easily solved in solvent

The classification of plastic:

  • Plastic could be classified by its usage characteristics, physical and chemical performances or machining methods.

Plastic classification by usage characteristics:

Universal Plastic

  • Universal Plastic refers to those plastic of large output capacity, wide application fields, good molding performance, cheap prices, such as Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Phenolics, Bakelite, etc.

Engineering Plastic

  • Engineering Plastic refers to those plastic which could bear some extend of outer forces, have good mechanical performance, high temperature resistant, low temperature resistant, good sizes stability, could be used as engineering structural frameworks, such as polyamide, polysulfone (PSF), etc.
  • Engineering Plastic could be classified further into two types: Universal Engineering Plastic, Special Engineering Plastic

Special Plastic

    • Reinforced Plastics: Reinforced plastics could be classified according to its shapes into granular type (such as Ca-plastic reinforced plastics), fiber type (such as fiberglass reinforced plastics or fiber cloth reinforced plastics) and sheet type (such as mica reinforced plastics). Reinforced plastics could be classified according to its materials into cloth basis reinforced plastics (such as rag reinforced plastics or asbestos reinforced plastics), inorganic minerals filled plastics (such as quartz or mica filled plastics) and fiber reinforced plastics (such as carbon fiber reinforced plastics).
    • Foam Plastics: Foam Plastics could be further classified into hard foam plastics, half hard foam plastics and soft foam plastics. Hard foam plastics have not flexility, large compression hardness, which would be only distorted under some certain stress value and could not recover to its former figures. Soft foam plastics have good flexility and little compression hardness which could be easily distorted while could recover to its former figures with little distortion remained when the stress are released. The flexility and others performances of half hard foam plastics are between hard foam plastics and soft foam plastics.

Plastic classification by physical and chemical performances:

Thermosetting Plastics:


  • Thermoplastic refer to those plastics which could be reused time after time within some temperature range, such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polycarbonate (PC), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), etc. Thermoplastic could be further classified into hydrocarbon type, ethylene type with polarity structure, engineering type, cellulose type, etc.

Plastic classification by machining methods:

  • According to different machining methods of all kinds of plastic, plastic could be classified into several types: Film Pressure Plastic, Laminating Plastic, Injection Plastic, Extrusion Plastic, Blow Molding Plastic, Cast Plastic and Reaction Injection Molding Plastic, etc.
    • Film Pressure Plastic refers to those plastics whose physical machining performances are similar with common solidity plastics;
    • Laminating Plastic refers to those fabric materials dipped with resin and then folded, hot pressed into integral entity;
    • Injection Plastic, Extrusion Plastic and Blow Molding Plastic refer to those plastics whose physical and machining performances are similar with common thermoplastic plastics;
    • Cast Plastic refers to liquid mixture resin which could be harden and molded into finished products without pressure or little pressure when they are poured into moulds, such as nylon, etc.
    • Reaction Injection Molding Plastic refers to those liquid plastic raw materials which could be injected into female mould cavities with some pressure and then reacted and solidified into finished products, such as polyurethane (PU), etc.

Note: Visitors would be guided to Chinese articles indexes of related webpages by clicking on yellow link letters in this webpage.

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