What is ABS plastic and its properties?

Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene or ABS, best known for its remarkable physical properties and durability, is a plastic formed by the polymerization of three separate chemical compounds.

Acrylonitrile gives strength, butadiene gives toughness and durability, while styrene adds to the toughness and adds a luster smooth finish. This tripart blend gives ABS its unique physical properties as well as its ability to be dyed to exact color specification. All of which combined makes ABS an ideal candidate to be used in so many things from toys such as LEGOs to industrial engineering use-cases.

With all these positives in its favor, the one big negative is where it comes from. ABS is sourced from petrochemical products. It is not biodegradable. This means that the only responsible way to deal with producing so much ABS is to make sure to recycle as much of it as is possible.

How and where is ABS used?

Since ABS is a very resilient plastic and does not corrode easily when it comes in contact with abrasive materials, ABS is often used for 3D printing purposes, keyboards of computers, lego toys, power tool housing, wall sockets, computer parts, automotive parts, luggage cases, aircraft applications, helmets, chairs, tables, containers, etc.

The applications of ABS are limitless! One of the reasons why ABS is so widely used is because it is also a cheap plastic. ABS should not be used in items that are subjected to high heat because it has a low melting point as compared to other plastics. This plastic is opaque and can be colored by different pigments with great ease. Once cooled, ABS gives a smooth and glossy finish.

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