General Plastics Questions
What does hygroscopic mean?
A Hygroscopic material is on that absorbs moisture from the air. Not all plastics are hygroscopic, but some are and this needs to be taken account of when processing them.
Are biodegradable plastics better for the environment?
Biodegradable plastics can be better for the environment in that any discarded plastic item made with one will decompose into natural products.
It will always be better to recycle plastics, but, where this is not an option, biodegradable plastics have a place.
It is important, however, to ensure that the plastic is actually biodegradable as some which have been marketed as such in the past do not truly biodegrade.
What is a UV stabiliser?
When plastic components are exposed to sunlight they begin to “age” which causes degradation of the part. Typical effects are loss of colour and reduced impact performance/embrittlement. In order to slow down this aging process UV stabilisers can be added to the polymer. The UV stabilisers act by absorbing the UV rays and hence protect the structure of the plastic giving it a longer life.
It should be said that some plastic materials are much better than others in absorbing UV in their natural state and do not require a UV stabiliser, but for those which are not which will be exposed to sunlight in use a UV additive is recommended.
Why do I need to add a lubricant?
Normally you would not need to add lubricant to a plastic material as during the manufacturing process they are normally added if required.
Lubricants are there as processing aids to enable the plastic material to flow more easily, and not stick in, say, the cavity of a mould tool. In some instances, additional lubricants may be required to enable easy processing of materials. They generally come in 2 forms – Spray on lubricants which are sprayed on the cavities of a tool to aid ejection. Solid lubricants, such as zinc stearate or calcium stearate, which are blended with the polymer which can both aid ejection and help in processing.
Where can I get a tool made?
Plastic Mould Tools are manufactured by specialist manufacturing companies. There are many based in both the UK and abroad.
We can commission tooling on your behalf if you contact us.