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POLY PROPYLENE

Polypropylene or polypropene (PP) is a thermoplastic polymer, made by the chemical industry and used in a wide variety of applications, including packaging, textiles (e.g., ropes, thermal underwear and carpets), stationery, plastic parts and reusable containers of various types, laboratory equipment, loudspeakers, automotive components, and polymer banknotes. An addition polymer made from the monomer propylene, it is rugged and unusually resistant to many chemical solvents, bases and acids. Polypropene is commonly recycled, and has the number "5" as its recycling symbol 5 .

Melt processing of polypropylene can be achieved via extrusion and molding. Common extrusion methods include production of melt blown and spun bond fibers to form long rolls for future conversion into a wide range of useful products such as face masks, filters, nappies and wipes.

The most common shaping technique is injection molding, which is used for parts such as cups, cutlery, vials, caps, containers, house wares and automotive parts such as batteries. The related techniques of blow molding and injection-stretch blow molding are also used, which involve both extrusion and molding.

The large numbers of end use applications for PP are often possible because of the ability to tailor grades with specific molecular properties and additives during its manufacture. For example, antistatic additives can be added to help PP surfaces resist dust and dirt. Many physical finishing techniques can also be used on PP, such as machining. Surface treatments can be applied to PP parts in order to promote adhesion of printing ink and paints.

There are three general types of PP: homopolymer, random copolymer and impact or block copolymer. The comonomer used is typically ethylene. Ethylene-propylene rubber added to PP homopolymer increases its low temperature impact strength. Randomly polymerized ethylene monomer added to PP homopolymer decreases the polymer crystallinity and makes the polymer more transparent.

Chemical and physical properties

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Most commercial polypropylene is isotactic and has an intermediate level of crystallinity between that of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE); its Young's modulus is also intermediate. Through the incorporation of rubber particles, PP can be made both tough and flexible, even at low temperatures. This allows polypropylene to be used as a replacement for engineering plastics, such as ABS. Polypropylene is rugged, often somewhat stiffer than some other plastics, reasonably economical, and can be made translucent when uncolored but is not as readily made transparent as polystyrene, acrylic or certain other plastics. It can also be made opaque and/or have many kinds of colors through the use of pigments. Polypropylene has very good resistance to fatigue.

Polypropylene Usage

Polypropylene is most commonly used for plastic moldings where it is injected into a mold while molten, forming complex shapes at relatively low cost and high volume, examples include bottle tops, bottles and fittings.

Recently it has been produced in sheet form and this has been widely used for the production of stationary folders, packaging and storage boxes.

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