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[PET] Polyethylene terephthalate.
PET in its natural state is a colorless, semi-crystalline resin. Based on how it is processed, PET can be semi-rigid to rigid, and it is very lightweight. It makes a good gas and fair moisture barrier, as well as a good barrier to alcohol (requires additional “barrier” treatment) and solvents.
It is strong and impact-resistant. PET becomes white when exposed to chloroform and also certain other chemicals such as toluene.
[HDPE] High-density polyethylene.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polyethylene high-density (PEHD) is a polyethylene thermoplastic made from petroleum. It is sometimes called “alkathene” or “polythene” when used for pipes.
With a high strength-to-density ratio, HDPE is used in the production of plastic bottles, corrosion-resistant piping, geomembranes, and plastic lumber. HDPE is commonly recycled, and has the number “2” as its resin identification code (formerly known as recycling symbol).
[PVC] Polyvinyl chloride.
Polyvinyl chloride, more correctly but unusually poly(vinyl chloride), commonly abbreviated PVC, is the third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer, after polyethylene and polypropylene.
PVC comes in two basic forms: rigid (sometimes abbreviated as RPVC) and flexible. The rigid form of PVC is used in construction for pipe and in profile applications such as doors and windows. It is also used for bottles, other non-food packaging, and cards (such as bank or membership cards).
Pure poly (vinyl chloride) is a white, brittle solid. It is insoluble in alcohol but slightly soluble in tetrahydrofuran.
[LDPE] Low-density polyethylene.
Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is a thermoplastic made from the monomer ethylene. LDPE has more branching (on about 2% of the carbon atoms) than HDPE, so its intermolecular forces (instantaneous-dipole induced-dipole attraction) are weaker, its tensile strength is lower, and its resilience is higher. Also, because its molecules are less tightly packed and less crystalline due to the side branches, its density is lower.
LDPE is widely used for manufacturing various containers, dispensing bottles, wash bottles, tubing, plastic bags for computer components, and various molded laboratory equipment. Its most common use is in plastic bags.
Polypropylene (PP), also known as polypropene, is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications including packaging and labeling, textiles (e.g., ropes, thermal underwear and carpets), stationery, plastic parts and reusable containers of various types, laboratory equipment, loudspeakers, automotive components, and polymer banknotes. An addition polymer made from the monomer propylene, it is rugged and unusually resistant to many chemical solvents, bases and acids.
Polypropylene has a relatively slippery “low energy surface” that means that many common glues will not form adequate joints. Joining of polypropylene is often done using welding processes.
Polystyrene is a synthetic aromatic polymer made from the monomer styrene. Polystyrene can be solid or foamed. General-purpose polystyrene is clear, hard, and rather brittle. It is an inexpensive resin per unit weight. It is a rather poor barrier to oxygen and water vapor and has a relatively low melting point. Polystyrene is one of the most widely used plastics, the scale of its production being several billion kilograms per year.
Polystyrene can be naturally transparent, but can be colored with colorants. Uses include protective packaging (such as packing peanuts and CD and DVD cases), containers (such as “clamshells”), lids, bottles, trays, tumblers, and disposable cutlery.