Types Of Plastic

GCSE DT revision

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  • Created by: ellie
  • Created on: 02-05-12 09:56


Can be moulded by heating and can be

 re-molded if heated again


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Acetate (Cellulose acetate)

  • Flexible, hard, shiny and transparent/translucent
  • Thin sheets for overhead projectors and for packaging where the product must be seen
  • Easy to print on
  • Made mostly from wood= more sustainable


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  • Tough, strong and flexible
  • Can be made with a 'living hinge' (therefore all one piece)
  • Lunch boxes, chairs, textiles and car parts


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High Impact Polystyrene

  • rigid, varied colours and thicknesses
  • boxes for products
  • vacuum forming
  • fairly cheap


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Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

  • Cheap and durable
  • easy to print on
  • quite brittle
  • Used for blister packaging (pills)
  • vinyl records, insulation, or electrical wires etc.


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Plastics For Modelling Materials

These next few plastics are not very strong but are easy to cut and shape. That makes them good modelling materials- to see ideas in 3d.

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Corrugated Plastic Sheet

  • Lightweight, rigid and weather proof
  • Made from polypropylene
  • stiff but can be bent in to shapes- good for flat surfaces & square edges
  • estate agent signs or student folders for example.


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Expanded Polystyrene foam (STYROFOAM)

  • Lightweight
  • Can be shaped with a knife
  • Can be quite crumbly
  • Dense structure (styrofoam)
  • Good for models but need to be filled in order to paint.


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Machining Foam

  • more compact than expanded polystyrene- can be worked on using machine tools
  • Make detailed pieces which can be painted
  • Used for architectual models
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  • Stiff and brittle
  • Used to make signs and small 2D and 3D forms


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  • Tough, hard, stiff
  • lightweight
  • transparent
  • Non-flammable
  • Wrapping around products=protection


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  • Hard, stiff
  • able to be sterilised
  • used for bottles and shrink wrapping


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Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)

  • Strong, hard, lightweight and durable
  • Good finish
  • resistant to chemicals
  • makes tubes and structures. Also can be corrugated.


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Kate Westall


This is really helpful. Thank you :)




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