Difference Between in Chemistry

Difference Between Thermoplastic and Thermosetting Plastic

Even though they sound similar, there is a clear cut difference between thermoplastic and thermosetting plastic. The reason for this is because both of them have very different applications and properties. Understanding the performance difference between thermoplastic and thermosetting plastic will be useful in making better designing and sourcing decisions.

Definition of Thermoplastic

A thermoplastic refers to a plastic polymer material that can become mouldable or pliable at a particular temperature. Furthermore, the solidification of thermoplastic happens upon cooling down. Moreover, the molecular weight of thermoplastics tends to be high.

Definition of Thermosetting Plastic

A thermosetting plastic refers to a polymer that becomes rigid in an irreversible manner on the application of heat. Furthermore, such a material can also be called as a thermosetting polymer or thermoset. Moreover, such materials have polymers that, during the curing process, cross-link together so as to form an irreversible chemical bond.

Difference between Thermoplastic and Thermosetting Plastic

difference between thermoplastic and thermosetting plastic


The important difference between thermoplastic and thermosetting plastic

Parameter Thermoplastic Thermosetting Plastic
Synthesis The synthesis of thermoplastic can happen by a process of addition polymerization The synthesis of thermosetting plastics can happen by the process of condensation polymerization
Tensile strength They have a low tensile strength Their tensile strength is high
Melting Points The melting points of thermoplastics are low The melting points of thermosetting plastics are high
Bonds They involve secondary bonds that are between molecular chains They have primary bonds between the molecular chains that are together due to strong cross-links
Molecular weight In comparison to thermosetting plastic, their molecular weight is lower Their molecular weight is higher
Processing The processing of thermoplastic is by the thermoforming process, rotational moulding, injection moulding, blow moulding, and extrusion process The processing of thermosetting plastic is by reaction injection moulding and compression moulding


More Details about Thermoplastic

Thermoplastics pellets tend to become more soften on the application of heat and get more fluid. Moreover, their curing process happens to be completely reversible. The reason for this is that there is no taking place of chemical bonding here.

The remoulding and recycling of thermoplastics can easily take place without having a negative impact on the physical properties of the material. Sometimes one may have to make a choice regarding thermoset vs thermoplastic composites. Simply speaking, thermoplastic matrix composites tend to be less brittle and tougher than thermosets, thereby providing excellent damage control and impact resistance.

Various thermoplastic resins provide multiple performance benefits. Most noteworthy, they offer high strength, easy bendability, and high shrink-resistance. Moreover, thermoplastics can efficiently serve various low-stress applications like high-stress mechanical parts or plastic bag.

More Details about Thermosetting Plastic

Thermosetting plastics contain polymers whose cross-linking takes place together at the time of curing process. This certainly results in the formation of an irreversible chemical bond. Furthermore, the process of cross-linking eliminates the risk of the product remelting on the application of heat.

Thermosetting plastics significantly cause the improvement of mechanical properties of the material. This certainly results in the enhancement of heat resistance, chemical resistance, and structural integrity. Moreover, thermosetting plastics are quite useful for sealed products because of their high resistance to deformity.

Thermosetting plastics examples include phenolic resins, unsaturated polyester resins, and epoxy resins. The use of epoxy resins is for coating materials, manufacturing insulating materials, etc. Furthermore, unsaturated polyester resins are useful for the making plastics reinforced fibreglass.

FAQs about Thermoplastic and Thermosetting Plastic

Question 1: Explain one difference between thermoplastic and thermosetting plastic?

Answer 1: One difference between thermoplastic and thermosetting plastic can be regarding processing. The processing of thermoplastic takes place by rotational moulding, blow moulding, thermoforming process, injection moulding, and extrusion process. In contrast, the processing of thermosetting plastic is by processes like reaction injection moulding and compression moulding.

Question 2: What are some of the benefits of thermoplastic resins?

Answer 2: Some benefits of thermoplastic resins are high strength, high shrink-resistance, easy bendability, and efficiently serving low-stress applications.

Question 3: What is meant by unsaturated polyester resin?

Answer 3: Unsaturated polyester resin is one of the types of thermosetting plastic, the other types being epoxy resin and phenolic resin. Most noteworthy, unsaturated polyester resins are utilised for making plastics reinforced fibreglass.


Wikipedia Thermoplastic

Wikipedia Thermosetting polymer

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