Polymerization: How Plastic Materials are Made

Posted by Barbara Gerard on 06.25.2015

Plastic materials have been created using many different kinds of matter over the years. Originally, resins were made from vegetable matter including cellulose from cotton, furfural from oat hulls, oil from seeds and various starch derivatives.  Bakelite (phenol formaldehyde resin), one of the first plastics made from synthetic components, was developed by Belgian born chemist Leo Baekeland in New York in 1907. Bakelite is made through an elimination reaction of phenol with formaldehyde. It was used for its electrical non-conductivity and heat-resistant properties in electrical insulators, radio and telephone casings. Because of its pleasing appearance, it was also used to make consumer products such as jewelry. Today, however, most plastics are made from petrochemicals including natural gas.

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How It Works: Blow Molding

Posted by Barbara Gerard on 06.17.2015

Blow molding is a manufacturing process in which air is used to inflate soft plastic into a mold cavity. It is a two part manufacturing process.  First a parison or starting tube of molten plastic is made and then the tube is inflated into the desired shape.  The parison is made either by extrusion or injection molding. The parison is placed in a mold cavity and inflated to take the shape of the mold.  Blow molding is used to make hollow plastic containers such as bottles, jars and containers. Milk containers, shampoo and soda bottles, and watering cans are examples of products that are typically blow molded. 

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6 Benefits of Plastic Components in the Medical Industry

Posted by Guest on 06.11.2015

Healthcare providers are always looking for new and innovative ways to enhance the quality of care patients receive while cutting costs.  Re-usable and antimicrobial plastic components are helping medical practitioners overcome adaptive challenges in the healthcare industry. These plastics are advantageous for a variety of reasons, including the benefits listed below.

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The Effect of Cryogenic Temperatures on Plastic Materials

Posted by Katie Gerard on 06.04.2015

Cryogenics is the study of the production and behavior of materials at very low temperatures.  An environment is considered cryogenic if it exhibits temperatures below -150°C.  Many modern industries use cryogenics in a wide variety of applications.  Some of these applications include cryogenic fuels, spacecraft hardware, machinery for medical and biosciences applications including freezers and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), particle accelerators, and superconducting magnets.  Curbell Plastics® recently published a white paper by Dr. Keith Hechtel on the effect of cryogenic temperatures on some common high performance plastics.  This article will briefly summarize some of the white paper’s main points.

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4 Reasons Why Flexible Materials Are Improving Product Packaging

Posted by Guest on 05.27.2015

There’s a massive shift going on right now in the world of product packaging, as more and more packaging converters are moving away from standard rigid materials such as paperboard and molded plastic and into flexible materials such as bags and pouches.

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Can 3D Printing Overtake Traditional Manufacturing Processes?

Posted by Chris Sculnick & Katie Gerard on 05.19.2015

3D printing has been generating a lot of excitement in the last year but the technology’s future in industrial manufacturing is still unclear.  With technology advancing, the 3d printing industry grown quickly and can now print many different types of materials.  Yet, 3D printing has not replaced traditional subtractive machining or injection molding.  Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why.

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Plastic Components: Paving the Way for Automotive Efficiency

Posted by Guest on 05.05.2015


That's the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, that the U.S. government expects all of the country's cars and light trucks to conform to by the year 2025. In 2014, the average was 24.1 miles/gallon.  So the automotive industry is under a lot of pressure to more than double the average vehicles fuel efficiency in the next 10 years.  The clock is ticking. 

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The Rise of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics

Posted by Barbara Gerard on 04.24.2015

The use of carbon fibers in plastic materials has a long history.  As early as 1879, Thomas Edison was experimenting with carbon fibers made from cotton threads and bamboo slivers.  In fact, the first incandescent light bulb heated by electricity contained carbon fibers.  In the 1960’s, Dr. Akio Shindo at the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology in Japan developed a carbon fiber based on polyacrylonitrile (PAN).  The resulting fiber contained 55% carbon.  

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The Top 10 Benefits of Plastic Injection Molding

Posted by Guest on 04.13.2015

If you're reading this blog, chances are you already know a thing or two about plastic injection molding, one of the most popular methods for mass producing plastic parts. To review, this technology consists of feeding plastic material into a heated barrel.  The material is mixed and then led into a mold cavity, where it takes shape and hardens into the final product. What you might not know is that plastic injection molding has a bevy of advantages and benefits over comparative plastic processing and manufacturing methods. Here's a look at the top 10 benefits of plastic injection molding:

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What is ASTM International?

Posted by Barbara Gerard on 04.08.2015

Have you ever been reading a material data sheet and wondered what ASTM means?  Well, you’re not alone.  “ASTM” followed by numbers or letters is used on data sheets to indicate the test used to develop the data.   These tests are standardized so that they can be reproduced by labs around the world.  Here’s a brief rundown on ASTM International’s history and operations. 

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