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Common Types Of Engineering Plastics

Engineering plastics are designed for heavy-duty, superior performance uses that require special features such as shock absorption or chemical resistance. Engineered plastics are considered high-performance plastics explicitly designed to meet more extreme requirements that go beyond the capabilities of most commodity plastics,

Why Use Engineering Plastics?

While engineering plastics can sometimes cost a little more than other plastics, they boast several significant advantages.

  • Lightweight

  • Impact and shock-resistant

  • Stronger and more resilient than many standard plastics

  • Can be easily shaped

  • Excellent machinability

  • Superb dimensional stability

  • Resistant to flames, chemicals, and friction

Common Engineering Plastics

There is a huge variety of engineering plastics, each with unique features. The materials experts at Piedmont Plastics can assist you in selecting the best engineering plastic materials for your project.

Here are some of the most popular types of engineering plastics.


Polycarbonate (PC) plastics are a class of thermoplastic polymers with carbonate groups as part of their chemical makeup. A sturdy and resilient material, PC is used in engineering and can come in transparent form. They are simple to mold, thermoform, and process. Polycarbonate is an excellent electrical insulation material with heat resistance and flame retardancy. It is found in a variety of components for electrical and telecommunication systems. PC plastic is also popular in construction for dome lamps, flat or curved windows, and sound insulation.

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene

As the name suggests, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic is a terpolymer of acrylonitrile (A), butadiene (B), and styrene (S). ABS is one of the primary materials used for 3D printing. Its qualities include heat resistance, impact resistance, low-temperature resistance, chemical resistance, superb electrical properties, consistent product size, and more. As a result, it’s featured in various products, from containers to automobile parts.

High Density Polyethylene

HDPE (high-density polyethylene) is a versatile thermoplastic material derived from petroleum and used in many industrial and commercial applications. HDPE offers exceptional strength, impact resistance, affordability, and corrosion resistance. HDPE is FDA approved and safe to use in areas with food contact. Lastly, HDPE is also recyclable which reduces plastic waste and production.

Polyethylene terephthalate

One of the most popular thermoplastic polymer resins in manufacturing is polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic. It is found in engineering resins bonded with glass fibers, clothing fibers, containers for food and liquids, thermoforming materials in manufacturing, and clothing fibers.

Acrylic / Poly(methyl methacrylate)

Acrylic, the common name for poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), is a prevalent plastic polymer material featuring highly notable transparency, chemical stability, and simple processing. Acrylic enjoys superior weather resistance, high surface hardness, outstanding gloss, high-temperature performance, and excellent processing performance. It can be machined and hot formed. Acrylic has wear resistance comparable to aluminum with solid stability and chemical corrosion resistance.


Polyoxymethylene (POM) plastic comes in white or black and exhibits excellent hardness, superior rigidity, and high wear resistance. It is commonly used to manufacture gears, bearings, auto parts, machine tools, instrument internals, and other products with skeleton functions.


Polyetherketone (PEEK) plastic is a semi-crystalline, high-performance engineering thermoplastic. PEEK boasts high thermal dimensional stability, low flammability, superb chemical resistance, and excellent mechanical properties in a wide temperature range. It is commonly used in the aerospace, aircraft, and automotive industries for structural components requiring high load requirements, such as bushings, gears, shafts, bearings, etc.

Polyphenylene sulfide

Polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) is a thermoplastic engineering material with remarkable comprehensive properties. Typically, it is presented as a white powder that exhibits excellent chemical stability, superb electrical insulation, good light transmittance, and water resistance. In addition, it does not deteriorate in the presence of most acid and alkali salts. However, it can be affected by strong oxidizing acids, such as concentrated sulfuric acid or concentrated nitric acid.

Polyphenylene oxide

One of the five common engineering plastics around, polyphenylene oxide (PPO) is popular for its stiffness, outstanding electrical characteristics, high heat resistance, and flame resistance. In addition, PPO also possesses excellent wear resistance, nontoxicity, pollution resistance, and more.

Polybutylene terephthalate

One of the most robust engineering polymers is polybutylene terephthalate (PBT). Among its features are thermal stability, mechanical strength, electrical insulating properties, and chemical stability. As a result, it is frequently used to make automobile parts, electrical components, home appliances, and other consumer goods.

What Are Industrial Plastics?

Industrial plastics are materials designed for heavy-duty industrial applications such as bearings, seals, rollers, valves, and slider pads. It’s a category of plastic that has been growing considerably over the past 25 years as plastics manufacturers seek to solve engineering challenges and meet the needs of emerging industries.

Popular industrial plastics include such recognized names as Delrin, Nylon, Teflon, and PVC.

Find Out More About Engineering Plastics

If you have more questions about how engineering plastics can help your next project, call us. The materials teams at Piedmont Plastics have extensive knowledge of what plastics work best for specific applications.

Contact us today for more information.