Plastics, or polymers, as they are sometimes called, are one of the most used raw materials in the world. They are used to make several things, from the now essential face masks to bulletproof vests. There are several types of plastics available today. Most of them fall under either of two categories: thermoplastics and thermosets.
While products made from thermosets require a liquid resin to make them, products made with thermoplastics commonly use plastic granules as input raw material. Plastic granules are simply thermoplastics made into grain-like materials about 3mm in diameter. These plastic granules are then melted to be used by manufacturers of various products.
There are several types of plastic granules. Some of them are polypropylene granules (PP granules), polyethylene granules (PE granules), electret masterbatch, polystyrene granules (PS granules), and polyvinyl chloride granules (PVC granules). Below is a detailed explanation of what some of these plastic granules are, their properties, applications, advantages, and production methods.
Polypropylene, also called polypropene, is a thermoplastic polymer produced through the polymerization of propylene gas in the presence of a catalysts system (the Ziegler-Natta catalysts). This gas is one of the by-products of crude oil and natural gas. It is one of the most popular thermoplastics used in the world and has various applications.
It can be produced in various molecular weights by modifying the polymerization conditions while producing it. They are usually used in the form of pellets, powders, fibers, and plastic granules for manufacturing other items.
- It is resistant to a lot of chemical solvents, diluted acids and bases included.
- It has a high enough resistance to heat, with a melting point of 160 or 170 degrees Celsius
- It can be dyed to give different colors.
- It has high tensile strength and an optimal weight-strength ratio.
- It has high flexural strength due to its semi-crystalline nature
Being as popular as they are, polypropylene is used to manufacture a lot of things. Some of them are carpet fiber, automotive components, ropes, thermal underwear, stationery, reusable containers, laboratory equipment, polymer banknotes, packaging application, medical equipment, and so on. Polypropylene is also used in the production of melt-blown non-woven fabrics.
Electret masterbatch isn’t actually a polymer. It is an additive that provides better filtration capabilities to melt-blown non-woven fabrics made from PP granules. By treating the melt-blown non-woven fabrics with electret, the filtration capability is increased from about 50% to 90% or even higher. Treating melt-blown non-woven fabrics with electret gives them the ability to filter air, dust, bacteria, aerosol, and virus particles as small as 0.3 microns.
Electret masterbatch achieves this by carrying electrostatic charge. Electret masterbatch increases the depth and density of the electric charge in melt-blown non-woven fabrics, thereby causing the release of negative ions and the storage of electric charge. The charge is responsible for the improved filtration efficiency of the fabric. Electret masterbatch can be divided into oil-based and salt-based.
- It blocks dust, bacteria, virus, and aerosol particles.
- Heating and pressurizing it increases its filtration capability. This effect doubles every 10 degrees in temperature.
- It is used in the production of medical masks
- It is used to make medical-grade protective clothing
- It is used to make disposable incontinence products
- It is used in making medical operating suits
Polyethylene, polyethene, or polythene is a thermoplastic polymer produced from the polymerization of propylene gas in the presence of a catalysts system (the Ziegler-Natta catalysts). This gas is also one of the by-products of crude oil and natural gas. It is the most popular thermoplastic used with a wide range of applications due to its various types.
Polyethylene can be classified into several types below:
- Low-Density PE (LDPE)
- High-Density PE (HDPE)
- Linear-Low-Density PE (LLDPE)
- Ultra-High Molecular Weight PE (UHMWPE)
- Ultra-Low Molecular-Weight PE (ULMWPE)
- High-Molecular-Weight PE (HMWPE)
- High-density cross-linked polyethylene (HDXLPE)
- Cross-Linked PE (PEX or XLPE)
- Very-Low-Density PE (VLDPE)
- Chlorinated PE (CPE)
Like polypropylene, they are usually used in the form of pellets, powders, fibers, and plastic granules for manufacturing other items. PE is one of the most common types of granules.
Polyethylene has several advantages depending on its variant.
- LDPE is a flexible material with high ductility but low tensile strength. This makes it suitable for the production of shopping bags and plastic films.
- HDPE has a highly crystalline structure that makes the plastic rigid. This makes it suitable for producing things like garbage bins, cutting boards, and so on.
- UHMWPE is a very dense variant of polyethylene. It has a very high tensile strength and is usually incorporated into bulletproof vests and high-performance equipment.
Other advantages possessed by polyethylene are:
- It absorbs impacts and vibrations very well.
- It is lightweight and waterproof.
- It has a sufficiently high heat resistance (this varies with each PE variant).
PE is used to manufacture plastic bags, cling films, bottle containers, toys, flasks, buckets, cisterns, flexible tubing, basins, and so many other things.
At M-sur, we specialize in producing high-quality plastic granules and melt-blown non-woven fabrics using industry-standard production equipment with a proficient quality control department to ensure the fabrics and granules are well above the standard quality. We produce PP granules, PE granules, and electret masterbatch in large quantities and have clients across several continents.