What Is the Difference Between Plastic Pellets, Granules and Other Polymer Materials?
Various processes have been used in the creation of plastics over the years. However, there is a difference between plastic pellets, granules, powder, and other polymeric materials that are formulated during the processing of polymer.
These different forms of materials are also prepared to be fed into the machine the plastic will be created.
First off, pure polymer does not have very high chemical, mechanical, and thermal resistances after it has been freshly synthesized, which makes it needful for the material to pass through a formulation stage.
In this stage, chemical additives are added to the pure polymer in a bid to improve its characteristics.
Benefits of Additives in the Formulation of Plastic
Additives such as antioxidants allow the polymer to be processed and plasticized.
Thus, it protects the polymer from degradation and oxidation, and the same can be said about flame retardants and antistatic additives.
Additives could take it one step further to enhance its features such as ultraviolet resistance to protect from:
- The sun’s rays
- Color pigments
- Lubricants for greater polymer flexibility, and so much more
The formulation stage is where the granules are produced, and there is a melting step where the adjuvants are homogeneously sent into the polymer.
Fillers are also dispersed into the polymer for preparing composites, and this introduction can be carried out in different ways. The latter leads to the formulation of pellets.
Finally, granules help to increase the density of the freshly synthesized polymer since it lacks the flowing properties required to be processed by an extruder.
What is Plastic?
Plastics are synthetic organic polymer materials that consist of:
They are also formed with raw materials, including oil, coal, and natural gas.
However, the first step in the creation of plastics is in the polymerization of its raw materials which leads to the product monomer.
Raw polymer materials are usually produced and sold in liquid form (sealants, adhesives, and resins); or as bulk pellets, granules, powders, or sheets.
They can be molded or shaped by the application of heat, thanks to their plasticity property.
Other properties of plastic are its low electrical conductivity, low density, transparency, and toughness which has allowed it to be used for the creation of various products.
Moreover, the versatility of plastic has led to its use in a wide range of industries.
Plastic in Raw Material Form
As earlier outlined, plastic in its raw material stage is available in several forms, and some of these are granules and plastic pellets.
Thus, they are industrial raw materials for the plastic industry.
The properties of granules and pellets which set either apart are outlined below:
Properties of Plastic Granules
Granules are fine particles, but small in size. Some properties of plastic granules are:
1. Mode of formation:
Plastic granules are made up of particles that are formed as a result of the progressive enlargement of primary particles that change their original identity.
2. Use Cases:
Plastic granules are employed in processing recycled plastics.
There are, however, some injection molding processing machines that can support granules and pellets.
Properties of Plastic Pellets
Pellets are large-sized particles (small granules, 1-5 millimeters in diameter) that can be separated by hand.
Some characteristics of plastic pellets are:
1. Mode of Formation:
Pellets are made up of spherical particles that are brightly colored, colorless, or opaque.
They are created during a precise forming and mechanical handling operation.
For this reason, pellets have a better physical appearance in comparison to granules.
2. Use Case:
In the injection molding process that helps in the formation of plastic parts, pellets are also used.
The thermoplastic pellets are melted and pumped in the direction of the melt reservoir by a rotating screw.
Pellets are used in the manufacturing of plastic products such as food containers and drink bottles.
Risks of Pollution
Despite these benefits, plastic pellets are unintentionally distributed in the environment during manufacturing and transporting phase.
As such, it can be harmful to the marine environment since toxic chemicals are released to it.
These materials have also been pointed out as one of the possible root causes of pollution at sea. Beaches all over the world have these plastics, and the same can be said about the seafloor of the oceans.
On the same note, several marine organisms accumulate these pellets in their stomachs.
Applications of Plastic
Plastic can be used to create a wide array of products, and as such, they have replaced the leather, glass, stone, ceramics, etc. in several applications.
Plastics are employed in the creation of bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
In the case of bottles, they can be recycled to form other products.
Similarly, packaging accounts for plastics’ most significant use case around the world.
Asides its use to create bottles, the same can be said about:
- Baby products
- Vending package, amongst others
2. Electrical and electronic applications:
Electrical devices are also made from plastic, and these devices have become an active part of our homes.
Thus, wherever electrical devices are involved, plastic can be applied.
Plastics are incredibly light, which has also made them very beneficial in the transport industry.
They are also used to design cars, trains, boats, and airplanes in a bid to reduce their weight significantly.
Once this is in place, the weight of the vehicle is reduced, which can reduce fuel consumption.
Other common uses of plastic are:
- Insulating food containers
- Building materials such as pipes and plumbing, siding
- Creating shatterproof windows made of polymethyl methacrylate
Common Questions About Plastic
What Does Plastic Consist Of?
Plastics consist of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, chlorine, and sulfer with additions of other raw materials including oil, coal and natural gas.
What Are the Properties of Plastic Granules?
Granules are made up of small particles that change their identity and are employed in processing recycled plastics.
What Are the Properties of Plastic Pellets?
Pellets are large particles made up of spherical particles and creates plastic during injection molding process.
What Are the Applications of Plastic?
Plastic is used to create a wide array of products and are employed in packaging, electrical and electronic applications, and transportation, to name a few.
Plastics are employed in several industries and have become a part of our everyday lives.
However, a lot of process goes into the formation of different forms of plastic.
The differences between plastic pellets, granules, and other raw polymeric material show how they uniquely different from each other.
They are all forms of plastic in its raw material form, and each is best suited for the design that is to be achieved.
Its also worthy to note that addictives can be added to plastic in a bid to improve its chemical characteristics.
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