Thermoplastic materials are typically received in pellet form. These pellets (which may be clear or colored) are then put into the hopper of the machine to make parts. Heat is used to soften and melt a thermoplastic material that is then cooled to solidify. The waste materials may then be re-ground and re-used.
Thermoplastic materials can be classified as commodity or engineering grade. Commodity resins that include Polyethylene, Polypropylene, and Polystyrene are materials that are readily available, used in large volumes, inexpensive, heat stable and easy to form. Engineering resins that include polycarbonate, nylon, acetaI, and acrylic are materials that are more expensive, used in lower volumes, and have improved properties compared to commodity resins.
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