Material Spotlight: Polypropylene

When it comes time to choose a material for your design project the task can be stressful, boring and just plain difficult. There are many different types of plastic and each type has an additional division of brands, properties and characteristics. The purpose of our material spotlight series is to tackle the generic categories of plastic used for injection molding and highlight the basic properties/uses of the material.

Polypropylene, also known as PP, is versatile plastic resin that is usually chosen for it strong set of positive characteristics. Some of the positive characteristics of PP include:

Economical and typically considered low cost

Naturally BPA free (Typically)

Available in virgin and FDA food grades

Good fatigue resistance

Good heat resistance when compared to other commodity plastics

Flexible yet tough

Light weight

Wide range of chemical resistance

Available in wide range of colors and translucencies

Acceptable for post processing ex. pad printing, painting, machining and more

Accepts a wide variety of additives ex. Antiscaling, Antibacterial, fiberglass and more

 

From the characteristics listed you can see why PP is such a popular plastic. A common use we see for this material is food grade applications. It is a fairly rugged plastic that flexes but doesn’t break and it is very easy to obtain in FDA grade not to mention it is one of the more cost effective plastics out there.  Here are some other applications we have seen for PP:

Home Appliances… used with and without food contact

Electronic Enclosures… Cost effective enclosure for Printed Circuit Boards

Automotive Components… Used for cost effectiveness in areas where high strength isn’t required

Product Packaging… Used for product with living hinges

Kids Toys… Considered a safer option to PVC products

Medical Equipment… good resistance to bacterial growth

 

This is a spotlight on the basic properties of Polypropylene in the future we hope to provide an in depth analysis of the material providing quantifiable data and examples.

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