What is ABS Plastic?

3rd Feb 2022

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is an opaque thermoplastic and amorphous polymer that is commonly referred to as ABS. Whenever we say thermoplastic, we're referring to a sort of plastic that reacts to heat in a variety of ways. In the case of ABS when it is heated to 221 degrees Fahrenheit, it turns into a liquid.

Thermoplastics are distinguished from conventional plastics by their ability to be melted to a liquid state, cooled, and reheated without inflicting significant chemical damage. ABS does not burn. Instead, it melts and becomes a liquid.

ABS returns to its solid state after cooling. Because thermoset polymers can only be heated once, a thermoplastic like ABS is preferable over thermoset plastics. When thermoset polymers are heated, a chemical transformation occurs that is irreversible. This is why, unlike thermoplastics, they cannot be melted repeatedly. When thermoset plastics are heated, instead of melting, they burn, unlike thermoplastics, which may be remolded after becoming liquid again.

When is ABS Used?

ABS is commonly used for 3D printing, computer keyboards, LEGO toys, power tool housing, wall sockets, computer parts, automotive parts, luggage cases, aircraft applications, helmets, chairs, tables, containers, and so on. ABS is a very resilient plastic that does not corrode easily when it comes into contact with abrasive materials. ABS may be used in a variety of ways. ABS is an inexpensive plastic, which is one of the reasons for its widespread usage.

Since ABS has such a low melting point compared to other plastics, it should not be utilized in goods that are subjected to extreme heat. This plastic is opaque and may be easily tinted with various colors. ABS, after cooled, provides

Why is ABS Used?

ABS is a common choice among other plastic production materials because of its durability, structural stability, and good corrosion, impact, chemical, and wear resistance. It's also simple to paint and attach onto ABS, increasing its usefulness and value.

The rising cost of materials is becoming a significant source of worry for manufacturers across a wide range of sectors. ABS is reasonably priced, making it appropriate for businesses with limited operational resources. The ability to recycle ABS also saves money for enterprises. From an environmental standpoint, recycling aids businesses in their efforts to become more environmentally conscious.

How is ABS Plastic Made?

One of the most important steps in the production of ABS is the emulsion. Emulsification is simply the act of combining different elements that don't mix well yet come together to form a single result. ABS is manufactured using a proprietary technique known as continuous mass polymerization. ABS is the result of this procedure. It's an excellent option for recycling and repurposing old ABS polymers into new goods.

How is ABS Recycled?

Whenever plastic is delivered to a plastic recycling facility, the initial step is to shred all of the fragments. Then, using varying velocity of water streams, a water system filters out all other impurities such as metals and unwanted plastics. ABS is extracted from these plastic bits and combined with virgin ABS to create new goods.

Is ABS Toxic?

Thankfully, ABS is not a poisonous substance. When compared to other plastics, it is utilized in many children's toys since it is less toxic. There are no known carcinogens in ABS, and no serious health problems have been linked to it thus far. ABS, on the other hand, is not utilized for medical implants or other medical applications.

Properties of ABS Plastic

At even low temperatures, ABS plastic stays hard, stiff, and durable. It comes in three different types: fire-retardant, heat-resistant, and platable. The impact strength varies depending on the slope.

The majority of natural ABS resins are translucent to opaque, although they may be made transparent and colored to practically any hue.

Although general purpose grades may be suitable for some outdoor applications, extended exposure to sunlight results in color changes as well as a reduction in surface gloss, firmness, impact strength, and elastic modulus.

Why Do We Use ABS Plastic?

ABS's toughness is one of the reasons it's ideal for a wide range of applications, from essential applications like the Class-A surface substrate in automobile interiors to utilitarian applications like dunnage trays. The material's composition is responsible for its sturdiness. When you combine the strength and rigidity of acrylonitrile and styrene with the toughness of polybutadiene rubber, you get a material with good impact resistance and toughness that is appropriate for applications requiring sturdiness, hardness, and rigidity.

The recyclable and inexpensive nature of ABS plastic is another reason why it’s so popular. ABS may be recycled, ground up, reprocessed, and reused into utility applications since it is a thermoplastic rather than a thermoset. This gives an even more cost-effective option for uses where aesthetics are less important.

It can withstand a lot of corrosive chemicals and its color can be changed too, which makes it attractive to many companies and industries. ABS plastics are chemically resistant to concentrated alkalis, diluted acids, nitric, hydrochloric, and sulphuric acid, aliphatic hydrocarbons, and a variety of aqueous salt solutions at normal temperature. Furthermore, animal, and vegetable oils have no effect on ABS.

Because custom colored and color-matched ABS is available, this product is ideal for both permanent and temporary point-of-purchase displays. ABS is available in both high and low gloss finishes, based on aesthetic preferences, and unique colors are applied during the extrusion process, avoiding the need for post-molding painting.


You might not be familiar with it but ABS plastic is used in many everyday items such as computer and car parts, LEGOs, helmets, airplanes, tables, chairs, and so much more. Because of its strong, rigid nature, its ability to be recycled, and its inexpensive price point, ABS plastic is very sought-after by numerous companies.

People have been impressed by thermoplastics for years now and ABS plastic is just one of the most impressive thermoplastics around. The next time you want to use plastic that can be friendlier to the planet and friendlier to your wallet, you should invest in ABS.