What is Polypropylene?

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If you have recently shopped for binders, you may have noticed that many of them claim to be PVC free. Which sounds good but what exactly does it mean? The part of the binder that is made out of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is the cover so it is a type of plastic. Many companies have started switching PVC products to polypropylene because of the environmental, cost, and durability advantages. Here is a quick rundown of the history, uses, and advantages of polypropylene.

History of Polypropylene

German chemist, Karl Rehn, and Giulio Natta first polymerized propylene to a crystalline isotatic polymer in March 1954. This discovery soon led to a commercial production of polypropylene starting in 1957.

 

Everyday Uses

The uses of polypropylene are numerous because of how versatile this product is. According to some reports, the global market for this plastic is 45.1 million tons, which equates to a consumer market use of about $65 billion. It is used in products such as the following:

  • Plastic parts – from toys to automobile products
  • Carpeting – in all forms of carpeting, area rugs and in upholstery
  • Reusable products – especially in containers and similar products
  • Paper – used in various applications for stationery and other writing bindings
  • Technology – commonly found in loudspeakers and similar types of equipment
  • Laboratory equipment – in virtually every aspect where plastics are found
  • Thermoplastic fiber reinforced composites

 

Benefits of Polypropylene

The use of polypropylene in everyday applications occurs because of how versatile this plastic is. For example, it has a high melting point compared to similarly weighted plastics. As a result, this product works very well for use in food containers where temperatures can reach high levels – such as microwaves and in dishwashers. With a melting point of 320 degrees F, it is easy to see why this application makes sense.

It is easy to customize, too. One of the benefits it offers to manufacturers is the ability to add dye to it. It can be colored in various ways without degrading the quality of the plastic. This is also one of the reasons it is commonly used to make up the fibers in carpeting. It also adds strength and durability to the carpeting. This type of carpeting can be found effective for use not only indoors but also outdoors, where damage from the sun and elements doesn’t affect it as readily as other types of plastics. Other benefits include the following:

  • It does not absorb water like other plastics.
  • It does not mold or otherwise deteriorate in the presence of bacteria, mold or other elements.
  • Newer versions contain an elastic element to them. This gives them a rubber-like composition and opens the door for new uses.
  • It is unlikely to shatter and will take significant damage prior to breaking, though it is not as sturdy as other plastics such as polyethylene.
  • It is lightweight and very flexible.
  • It does not contain BPA which is sometimes used as an option in food packaging.

 

Shop a few of our polypropylene products here.

 

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June 10th 2013 |

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