Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) is the largest-volume engineering thermoplastic resin. Due to its flexibility of composition and structure, ABS can exhibit a wide range of properties, allowing its use in diverse applications.
A growing outlet for ABS is the electronics industry while an important market is the automobile industry. Most markets for ABS are mature, but it continues to find new applications. Future global growth is predicted by industry observers at around 4-5%/year with the strongest growth in China.
Three main polymerisation processes used to make ABS - emulsion, suspension and continuous mass processes. The continuous mass process is seen as the preferred route.
An amorphous thermoplastic blend, ABS is available in a range of compositions and properties, depending on the ratio of monomer feedstocks. Generally, ABS has good impact strength, satisfactory stiffness and dimensional stability, glossy surface and is easy to machine. ABS is not chemically active under recommended conditions of use.
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Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) is the largest-volume engineering thermoplastic resin. Traditionally, it has been positioned between commodity plastics, such as polystyrene (PS) and polypropylene (PP), and the higher-performing engineering thermoplastics, for example polycarbonate and polyurethane.
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ABS was patented in 1948 and introduced commercially by Borg-Warner in 1954. There are three main polymerisation processes used: Emulsion process (oldest and least clean); Suspension (blending high rubber content medium with SAN); Continuous mass (clean, cost effective but lacks flexibility).
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