Plastic Ingenuity Thermoform Circularity Report

Perfect Packaging Materials Part 7: ABS

January 29, 2013|BY: Rob Helmke

ABS Material
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Also known as Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, this material is a combination of styrene, butadiene and acrylic. What does all that add up to, exactly? A high-gloss, high-impact resistant, rigid material used everywhere from hospitals to preschools around the world.

Perfect for Playtime

As a combination plastic, ABS boasts various traits that make it versatile across industries. For example, this material has high impact resistance—five times higher than HIPS—and with its shock absorbency, it is oftentimes seen in the heads of golf clubs. The same light weight that makes it useful for hitting balls comes in handy in concert halls, too, as ABS is used in the construction of certain musical instruments. People of all ages are able to enjoy ABS-constructed consumer products, too—this rigid, injection-moldable material is used to make Lego bricks.

Strong Enough for the Elements

While plastic manufacturers may utilize ABS when making toys for kids and adults, don’t let that make you think this material is all play and no work. Remember, ABS is lightweight but remarkably strong, so it can withstand serious impacts without giving way. For this reason, it’s seen in protective padding you can wear and canoes that will withstand a trip through river rapids.

Bits and Pieces

Its lightweight, sturdy construction and manufacturing make ABS a popular choice for fashioning smaller pieces of larger instruments. For example, ABS is a mainstay in the design and construction of luggage, furniture, cars and kitchen tools.

Like with so many other plastics, though, ABS manufacturing is far from foolproof. For example, if a plastic manufacturer doesn’t properly dry ABS before extruding it, tiny bubbles may form, compromising the integrity of the final product. At PI, we use extra care when working with ABS—when it’s done correctly, the material is strong and bubble-free.