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Plastics Overview: Thermosets vs. Thermoplastics

Resin output is normally classified as one of two generic types:

1. Thermosets
2. Thermoplastics

Thermosets
Thermosets, which account for approximately 15% of the market, can be melted and formed only once. This occurs because the original liquid state of thermoset resins requires heat to cure, much like that of a hard boiled egg.

Thermoplastics
Thermoplastic materials account for roughly 85% of the total market and are characterized by the ability to be repeatedly melted, formed, re-melted, and reformed. This can be accomplished because thermoplastic resins are cured by air or water cooling. There are two types of thermoplastics: hygroscopic and non-hygroscopic.

1. Hygroscopic resins collect moisture on the inside of the pellet; therefore, moisture removal requires both dry air and heat.
2. Non-hygroscopic resins collect moisture on the pellet surface which is removed with warm air.