Thermoset vs thermoplastic

In spite of the fact that thermoset plastics and thermoplastics sound similar, they are totally different properties and applications. Understanding their differences can assist you with settling on better sourcing choices and improve your product designs and development.

Thermoset and Thermoplastics are two separate types of polymer powders, which are separated dependent on their conduct when responding to the utilization of heat.

The essential distinction between the two is that Thermoset is a material that fortifies when heated, yet can’t be remolded or heated after the underlying shaping, while thermoplastics can be reheated, remolded, and cooled as important without bringing about any compound changes.

Because of these physical and substance properties, thermoplastic materials have low dissolving capability, while thermoset items can withstand higher temperatures without loss of its structural integrity.

In this article, we are going to do a complete breakdown of the differences between thermoset and thermoplastics. We will also elaborate on their application areas.

What are Thermosets?

What are Thermosets?

Plastics are one of the most widely recognized materials used to manufacture goods today, from the computer that you are using to the International Space Station.

Plastics are not going anywhere, regardless of the negative perception associated with them.

So by what method can plastics, which can cause something basic as a pen to make something so complex that it can withstand thorough physical and concoction such as heat and friction?

The appropriate response is thermoset plastics or thermosetting.

Thermosets are special and very not quite the same as conventional plastic materials, for example, thermoplastics, so what’s the distinction between thermoplastic and thermosetting?

Unlike the typical plastic parts that melt and deform when presented to overabundance heat, thermoset segments, as suggested by their name, become set in their physical and compound properties after underlying heat treatment.

By doing so, their physical structure is not affected in any way, even with the extra supply of heat.

Applications of Thermosets

Thermoset material’s capacity to show resistance to heat, consumption, and mechanical strength make them superbly appropriate for use in parts that require high levels of resilience.

Thermoset plastics offer upgraded superior blend of thermal stability, structural integrity, and chemical resistance.

Thermoset parts are utilized broadly in a wide scope of businesses – and are used for applications in the automotive industry, mechanical filed, electrical, lighting, and energy due to their desirable features.

Another reason behind the popularity of thermosets is they are cheaper to be produced. This can be achieved through a batch to batch processing of the materials.

Thermosets can also be molded into complex geometry through the fabrication process.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Thermosets

Before you make any decision about thermosets, it is vital that you know its two sides. By this, we mean both the pros and cons of this material.

The table below summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of thermosets;

High temperature resistanceCannot be recycled
Strong tough and rigidThe rigidity of the material can be a major problem when designing complex structures
Excellent mechanical propertiesCannot be remodeled or even reshaped
Relatively cost effective
Can be molded into complex geometry and dimensions
Can achieve excellent aesthetics and  finishes

Examples of Thermoset Materials

Here are some of the most common thermoset materials;

  • Polyurethanes
  • Polyureas
  • Structural Foams
  • Phenolics
  • Bismaleimide (BMI)
  • Fluoropolymers

What are Thermoplastics?

What are Thermoplastics?

Thermoplastic polymers are one such kind of plastic which is known for its flexibility and recyclability. Thermoplastic polymers structure when rehashing units called monomers connects into chains or branches.

Thermoplastic pellets get soft when heated and turn out to be progressively liquid as more heat is regulated. The restoring procedure is 100% reversible, as no chemical holding happens.

This trademark feature permits thermoplastics to be remolded and reused without contrarily influencing the material’s physical properties.

There is an assortment of thermoplastic resins that offer different presentation benefits. However, most of the materials normally utilized offer high quality, shrivel resistance, and simple adaptability.

Depending on the type of the resin, thermoplastics can be used for low-stress applications, for example, plastic sacks or can be utilized in high-stress mechanical parts.

Examples of thermoplastic polymers include polyethylene, PVC, and nylon.

Application of Thermoplastics

In contaminated, acidic, situations, for example, might be found in present-day urban communities, steel piping frameworks are regularly defenseless against rust or consumption and, in this manner, need exceptional arrangements for erosion insurance.

The expense related to ensuring steel channeling frameworks that are presented to these brutal conditions can be costly. Thermoplastics are viewed as a good substitute to limit these expenses.

Regular materials used to create these pipes are PVC or CPVC. Extra materials incorporate polypropylene, PVDF, ABS, nylon, and polyethylene. Polyethylene gas tanks are utilized to transport flammable gas for use in private and commercial applications.

Other basic applications for thermoplastics incorporate high-pressure polyethylene to exemplify rigid items like electrical appliances. Low-pressure polyethylene is versatile and perfect for insulating electrical cables. Polyamide is most ordinarily connected with the manufacture of ropes and belts.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Thermoplastics

There are numerous gains that you can get from using thermoplastics. At the same time, some limitations come with using this material.

The table below gives a summary of the pros and cons of thermoplastics:

Thermoplastic consThermoplastics Cons
Highly recyclableCan soften when reheated
Adhesive to metalsExpensive than thermoset
High impact resistance
High electrical insulation
Resistance to detergent and chemicals
Chip resistance
Corrosion resistance

Summary of the Difference Between Thermosets and Thermoplastics

From the detailed descriptions of both the thermosets and thermoplastics, we can conclude that the two materials have different properties hence different areas of applications.

Also, the two materials have their own unique sets of limitations.

The table below gives a summary of the differences between thermosets and thermoplastics.

Thermoplastic PolymersThermosetting Polymers
Formed by addition polymerizationFormed by condensation polymerization
Can be softened, reshaped and reusedCannot be softened, reshaped and reused
Are soft, weak and brittleAre hard and rigid
Monomers used are bifunctionalMonomers used are polyfunctional
Examples include PVC, PVA , Polyetheylene etcExamples include phenol, formaldehyde, nylon 6.6 etc


Would you want to process either thermoset or thermoplastic polymers for your relevant applications? Talk to us, and we will get the job done with utmost diligence.