Acetal is a thermoplastic that was introduced in 1956. It is widely recognized as a potential replacement for die-cast metals because it is very rigid, yet not brittle. Acetal has a high melting point, is resistant to fatigue, and very strong. Currently, acetal is used to create cams, bearings, gears, bushings, housings, and conveyors. In addition, acetal is used in automotive seat belt components and door handles, shaver cartridges, in the moving parts in appliances and business machines, in gas tank caps, in plumbing fixtures, and in zippers.
Acrylics became a part of the plastics family in 1936 and were used in World War II as aircraft canopies. Acrylics are known for being rigid, hard, and transparent. It is particularly useful in products that will be exposed to sunlight or other weather elements for periods of time because it is very resistant to sunlight and weathering. Today, acrylics are used in outdoor signs, lighting diffusers, washbasins, automobile tail lights, sinks, tables, safety shields, and skylights. Acrylics are also used for large enclosures, such as swimming pools and room dividers.
This thermoplastic, which was introduced in 1948, is made by combining acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene. As a result, it draws upon the strengths of each. ABS is very durable against impact and has a high mechanical strength. Therefore, it is commonly used in automotive parts, appliances, business machines, pipes, and telephone components.
Developed in 1926, alkyds were originally used in paints, enamels, lacquers, and other coatings used for refrigerators, automobiles, and stoves. Today, this is still the main purpose for alkyds, though alkyd compounds are now also used as a molding material. In this capacity, it is used for encapsulation of capacitors and resistors, in circuit breaker insulation, in housings, in coal forms, in cases, and in switchgear components. This is largely due to the fact that alkyds have excellent dielectric strength as well as heat resistance.