How many types of plastic are there

Different types of plastic


Thermoplastics have either a linear or branched structure, which makes them flexible at room temperature. After they have been shaped, they can be stretched, bent, etc., but in contrast to elastomers they remain in this shape. Their melting point is around 120 ° C to 180 ° C.

Polyethylene; PE

PE is transparent and resistant to most acids. It melts at 80 ° C and is not resistant to UV light. You can find this type of plastic in bottles, packaging materials, and insulation materials.

Polypropylene; PP

This sub-genus has similar properties to PE, but it can withstand higher temperatures (> 100 ° C). PP is used for interior fittings of cars (dashboards), in the medical field but also in the textile industry.

Polyvinyl chloride; PVC

This material can be described as very durable and water-repellent and it is useful in almost all areas of life, for example in cable insulation because of its good electrical insulation properties. PVC can be flexible but also rigid, depending on the exact mix of the “ingredients”.

Polyethylene terephthalate; PET

Like PE, PET is transparent. However, it is not acid resistant and deforms at higher temperatures. The problem with PET bottles is that some of them insist on recycling materials and it is often no longer possible to determine exactly which plasticizers are contained. PET also emits toxic acetaldehyde. It is well known that PET is the basic material for plastic bottles, but it is also used in the textile industry.


These types of plastic have a molecular structure - that is, they are like one large molecule. They are something like the opposite of thermoplastics in that they decompose when heated. In addition, they are neither stretchable nor elastic - if you try to deform them they break. This plastic is used for light switches or protective helmets.


They are very flexible and elastic - you can stretch them up to twice their original length without them tearing. They melt at high temperatures and most of them can be deformed again and again because they always return to their original shape. They are used naturally for hair ties, hoops and erasers.

Author: Judith Seil

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