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Polymers - Physical Properties

Densities, tensile strength, elongation, Youngs modulus and Brinell hardiness

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Physical properties of some common plastic materials are indicated below.

Thermoplastics

Thermoplastics can be softened as often as they are reheated and are not so rigid as thermosetting plastics but tend to be rougher.

PolymerDensity
- ρ -
(kg/m3)
Tensile Strength
- σ -
(MPa)
Elongation
(%)
Young's Modulus
- E -
(GPa)
Brinell Hardness Number
PVC 1330 48 200 3.4 20
Polystyrene 1050 48 3 3.4 25
PTFE 2100 13 100 0.3  
Polypropylene 900 27 200 - 700 1.3 10
Nylon 1160 60 90 2.4 10
Cellulose Nitrate 1350 48 40 1.4 10
Cellulose Acetate 1300 40 10 - 60 1.4 12
Acrylic (metacrylate) 1190 74 6 3.0 34
Polyethylene 950 20 - 30 20 - 100 0.7 2

Thermosetting Plastics (Thermosets)

Thermosetting plastics undergo a chemical change during moulding an can never again be softened by reheating. The chemical change in the moulding process is triggered by temperature and pressure and is called curing. 

Thermosetting plastics are harder and more brittle than thermoplastic materials.

PolymerDensity
- ρ -
(kg/m3)
Tensile Strength
- σ -
(MPa)
Elongation
(%)
Young's Modulus
- E -
(GPa)
Brinell Hardness Number
Epoxy resin, glass filled 1600 - 2000 68 - 200 4 20 38
Melamine formaldehyde, fabric filled 1800 - 2000 60 - 90   7 38
Urea formaldehyde, cellulose filled 1500 38 - 90 1 7 - 10 51
Phenol formaldehyde, mica filled 1600 - 1900 38 - 50 0.5 17 - 35 36
Acetals, glass filled 1600 58 - 75 2 - 7 7 27
  • 1 MPa = 0.1 GPa = 1 N/mm2
  • 1 N/m2 = 1 Pa = 10-6 N/mm2 = 1.4504x10-4 psi 
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  • en: plastic polymer properties brinell hardiness density
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