Introduction to ABS

ABS plastic, or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, is a widely used thermoplastic polymer known for its versatility, durability, and affordability. With a unique combination of properties, abs plastic has found its way into various manufacturing industries, ranging from automotive and electronics to consumer goods and beyond. In this article, we will delve into the characteristics, applications, and frequently asked questions about ABS plastic.

The picture on the left shows some common abs plastic products.

What is ABS Plastic?

ABS plastic, short for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, is an opaque thermoplastic amorphous polymer commonly used in various manufacturing industries. ABS plastic is a terpolymer comprising three monomers: acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene. Acrylonitrile contributes to chemical resistance, fatigue resistance, hardness, stiffness, and increased heat deflection temperature. Butadiene imparts toughness and ductility at low temperatures, while styrene enhances surface characteristics, hardness, rigidity, and processability.

What is the history of abs plastic?

ABS plastic has a history that traces back to the 1930s when it was developed by a team of researchers led by Otto Bayer. Commercial production began in the 1940s, and after World War II, ABS gained popularity for its desirable properties. It is widely used in industries such as automotive, electronics, and consumer goods. ABS has evolved, with advancements in formulation and manufacturing processes, and it remains a versatile and widely used material today.

What does plastic abs stand for?

ABS plastic, which stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, is a widely used thermoplastic polymer known for its toughness and durability. It is a terpolymer comprising three monomers: acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene. ABS is classified as a thermoplastic, which means it can be melted and reprocessed multiple times without significant degradation. Additionally, ABS does not burn at high temperatures but liquefies to be recycled and reused.

How is abs plastic made?

ABS plastic is typically produced through a process called emulsion or suspension polymerization. In this process, the monomers acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene are combined with a polymerization initiator and other additives. The mixture is then heated and agitated to initiate the polymerization reaction.

During polymerization, the monomers undergo a series of chemical reactions that result in the formation of polymer chains. The reaction is typically carried out in the presence of a suspension or emulsion medium that helps control the size and distribution of the polymer particles.

Once polymerization is complete, the resulting ABS material is in the form of small beads or pellets. These pellets can be further processed using various techniques such as extrusion or injection molding to create finished products with desired shapes and sizes.

Here are some basic steps for molding ABS plastic. Due to different products, the production process will also change. The following detailed steps are for reference only.

To mold ABS plastic, the following general steps are typically involved:

1. Designing a Mold

Create a mold that reflects the desired shape and features of the final ABS product. The mold can be made of metal, such as aluminum or steel, and should have separate halves that can be opened and closed.

2. Preparing the ABS Material

ABS pellets or granules are typically used for molding. Ensure that the ABS material is dry and free from moisture, as moisture can affect the quality of the final product. This can be achieved by drying the ABS pellets in a hopper or using a dehumidifier.

3. Melting the ABS

The ABS material is melted by heating it to its melting point, which is around 200-250°C (392-482°F). This can be done using an injection molding machine or an extruder. The melted ABS forms a molten resin that is ready for injection into the mold.

4. Injection Molding

In injection molding, the molten ABS is injected under high pressure into the mold cavity through a sprue, runner, and gate system. The mold is typically held at a specific temperature to aid in proper cooling and solidification of the ABS.

5. Cooling and Solidification

After the molten ABS is injected into the mold, it is cooled to allow it to solidify and take the shape of the mold cavity. Cooling can be achieved through water channels or other cooling methods in the mold.

6. Mold Opening and Ejection

Once the ABS has solidified, the mold is opened, and the molded part is ejected. Ejection can be done using ejector pins or other mechanisms built into the mold.

7. Post-Processing

The molded ABS part may require additional post-processing steps, such as trimming excess material, surface finishing, or assembly.

What is the melting point of ABS plastic?

The melting point of ABS plastic typically ranges between 200°C to 240°C (392°F to 464°F).

What is the density of ABS plastic?

The density of ABS plastic usually falls within the range of 1.03 to 1.06 grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³).

What is the yield strength of ABS plastic?

The yield strength of ABS plastic can vary depending on the specific grade and formulation of the material. Generally, the yield strength of ABS plastic ranges from around 40 MPa to 60 MPa (megapascals). However, it is worth noting that in many cases, people call yield strength tensile strength, and the two are the same thing.

What is the temperature rating of ABS plastic?

The temperature rating of ABS plastic is typically in the range of -20°C to 80°C (-4°F to 176°F). However, it’s important to note that ABS can experience a reduction in its mechanical properties at higher temperatures, and prolonged exposure to elevated temperatures can cause deformation or degradation of the material.

What is the thermal conductivity of ABS plastic?

The thermal conductivity of ABS plastic is relatively low, typically ranging from 0.11 to 0.25 W/m·K (watts per meter kelvin). This means that ABS is not a good conductor of heat and has relatively low heat transfer capabilities.

What is the UV resistance of ABS plastic?

ABS plastic has limited inherent resistance to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Over time, exposure to UV light can cause degradation and discoloration of ABS. To enhance UV resistance, ABS formulations can be modified by adding UV stabilizers or incorporating additives such as carbon black or titanium dioxide. These additives help to absorb or reflect UV radiation, thereby reducing the negative effects of UV exposure on ABS plastic. However, it’s important to note that even with UV stabilizers, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight may still lead to some degree of degradation or fading of ABS plastic.

What is Young’s modulus of ABS plastic?

The Young’s modulus of ABS plastic typically ranges from 1.9 GPa to 2.7 GPa (gigapascals). Young’s modulus, also known as the elastic modulus, is a measure of the stiffness or rigidity of a material. The specific value of Young’s modulus for ABS can vary depending on factors such as the grade of ABS and processing conditions.

What do ABS plastic pellets look like?

ABS plastic pellets typically have a small cylindrical or granular shape. They are small, solid pieces of ABS material that are often uniform in size and have a smooth surface. The color of ABS pellets can vary depending on the specific formulation or any added pigments. Common colors include white, black, and various shades of gray, but ABS pellets can also be found in other colors depending on the intended application or customization requirements. For example, the abs plastic pellets are shown in Figure 1 below:


What is the machinability of ABS plastic?

ABS plastic generally has good machinability, which refers to its ease of being machined or worked with using various cutting and shaping tools. ABS can be easily drilled, milled, turned, or machined using standard machining techniques. It produces fine chips during machining and has good dimensional stability, allowing for precise and accurate machining operations.

However, it is important to use appropriate cutting tools and techniques, as ABS can tend to melt or deform if excessive heat is generated during machining. Additionally, ABS has a relatively low melting point, so care should be taken to avoid overheating the material during the machining process.

What are the properties of ABS plastic?

Strength and Durability(Physical Properties): ABS exhibits good strength and durability, making it suitable for applications that require impact resistance and toughness.

Versatility(Physical Properties): ABS is a versatile material that can be easily molded and formed into various shapes, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.

Thermal Stability(Physical Properties): ABS has a relatively high melting point and can withstand moderate temperatures, allowing it to maintain its structural integrity in different environments.

Electrical Insulation(Physical Properties): ABS is an excellent electrical insulator, making it suitable for applications where electrical conductivity needs to be minimized.

Surface Finish(Physical Properties): ABS typically has a smooth and glossy surface, enhancing its aesthetic appeal.

Good Adhesion: ABS exhibits good adhesion properties, allowing it to bond well with other materials, such as adhesives or coatings.

Chemical Resistance(Chemical Properties): ABS has good resistance to many chemicals, including acids and alkalis, enhancing its suitability for applications where exposure to chemical substances is expected.

Machinability: ABS can be processed using various methods, such as injection molding, extrusion, and 3D printing, making it convenient for manufacturing different products.

Low Water Absorption
Flammability (flammable, but can be improved with additives)
UV Resistance (limited, can be enhanced with stabilizers)

What are the disadvantages of ABS plastic?

While ABS plastic offers many advantages, it also has some disadvantages to consider:

Poor UV Resistance: ABS plastic is prone to degradation when exposed to prolonged sunlight or ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Over time, UV exposure can cause ABS to become brittle, fade in color, or develop surface cracks. To mitigate this, additional coatings or additives can be used to enhance UV resistance.

Flammability: ABS is a flammable material and can ignite easily when exposed to an open flame or high temperatures. It releases toxic fumes when burned, which can be hazardous. Flame retardant additives can be incorporated into ABS formulations to improve its fire resistance.

Limited Heat Resistance: ABS has a relatively low heat resistance compared to other engineering plastics. It begins to soften and deform at temperatures above 80-85°C (176-185°F). This limited heat resistance makes ABS unsuitable for high-temperature applications or environments.

Chemical Sensitivity: ABS may be sensitive to certain chemicals, such as strong acids and solvents. Exposure to these substances can cause ABS to swell, deteriorate, or experience surface damage. Compatibility testing should be conducted when using ABS in contact with chemicals.

Dimensional Stability: ABS has moderate dimensional stability, but it can experience slight shrinkage during cooling after molding. This shrinkage may lead to dimensional inaccuracies, warping, or stress in the molded parts.

Recycling Challenges: ABS plastic can be recycled, but it is not as widely recycled as some other plastics. The recycling process for ABS may require special considerations, and the availability of recycling facilities can vary.

What is acrylonitrile butadiene styrene used for?

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is used for various applications due to its desirable properties. Some common uses of ABS include:

1. Automotive Parts

ABS is used in the automotive industry for interior and exterior parts, such as dashboards, trim components, door panels, and bumper covers, due to its impact resistance, toughness, and good surface finish.

2. Consumer Goods

ABS is found in a wide range of consumer products, including appliances, electronics, toys, and sporting goods. It is used for items like computer keyboards, housings for electrical devices, remote controls, luggage, and protective gear due to its durability, strength, and ease of processing.

3. Construction and Architecture

ABS finds applications in the construction industry for items such as pipe fittings, wall panels, and decorative trim due to its chemical resistance and mechanical strength.

4. 3D Printing

ABS is a popular material for 3D printing due to its ease of use, good dimensional stability, and ability to produce high-quality prints.

5. Medical and Healthcare

ABS is used for certain medical devices and equipment where impact resistance, sterilization compatibility, and chemical resistance are important.

6. Prototyping

ABS is commonly used for prototyping in various industries as it can be easily machined, molded, and modified to create functional prototypes.

Which processing techniques are suitable for ABS plastic?

At Ruitai we have a range of processing techniques for plastic abs, including but not limited to the following:

1. Injection Molding

Injection molding is one of the most common methods for processing ABS. It involves melting the ABS pellets and injecting the molten material into a mold under high pressure. Once cooled and solidified, the molded part is ejected from the mold.

2. Extrusion

ABS can be extruded into various shapes, such as sheets, pipes, and profiles. In the extrusion process, the ABS pellets are melted and forced through a die to obtain the desired shape. The extrudate is then cooled and cut to the desired length.

3. Blow Molding

ABS is also suitable for blow molding, which is commonly used for producing hollow objects such as bottles, containers, and automotive parts. In blow molding, a tube of molten ABS is extruded and then inflated to conform to the shape of a mold cavity.

4. Thermoforming

ABS can be thermoformed(Vacuum blister), which involves heating a sheet of ABS until it becomes pliable and then using a mold or vacuum to shape it into a specific form. Thermoforming is often used for manufacturing products such as trays, packaging, and automotive interior components.

5. 3D Printing

ABS is a popular material for 3D printing (additive manufacturing) due to its good dimensional stability, ease of printing, and availability of ABS filaments suitable for various 3D printers. On our platform, we can provide you with two types of 3D printing technology services, which are sla3D printing and sls3D printing.

What is the difference between pla and abs plastic?

PLA (Polylactic Acid) and ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) are two commonly used types of thermoplastic polymers with distinct characteristics. PLA is a biodegradable and renewable plastic derived from plant sources, making it more environmentally friendly. It has lower impact resistance and heat resistance compared to ABS but offers better dimensional accuracy and is easier to print within 3D printing applications. On the other hand, ABS is a petroleum-based plastic known for its strength, impact resistance, and versatility. It has higher heat resistance and durability compared to PLA but is not biodegradable. The choice between PLA and ABS depends on specific application requirements, such as environmental considerations, mechanical properties, and processing capabilities.

What is the difference between abs plastic pipe and PVC?

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic pipe and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) pipe are two common types of thermoplastic pipes used for various applications. ABS pipes are known for their high impact strength and durability, making them suitable for applications that require resistance to rough handling or external forces. They are commonly used in drain, waste, and vent (DWV) systems. PVC pipes, on the other hand, are known for their chemical resistance, low cost, and ease of installation. They are commonly used for water supply, irrigation, and drainage systems. The main difference between ABS and PVC pipes lies in their physical properties and intended applications, with ABS being more suitable for impact resistance and PVC for chemical resistance and cost-effectiveness.

What is the difference between abs plastic vs polycarbonate?

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic and polycarbonate are two distinct thermoplastic materials with different properties and applications. ABS is known for its impact resistance, strength, and affordability. It is commonly used in applications such as automotive parts, consumer goods, and electronics. Polycarbonate, on the other hand, is characterized by its exceptional transparency, high impact resistance, and heat resistance. It is often used in applications that require optical clarity and shatter resistance, such as safety goggles, electronic display screens, and automotive headlights. The choice between ABS and polycarbonate depends on the specific requirements of the application, with ABS offering better affordability and general-purpose strength, while polycarbonate excels in optical clarity and high-impact applications.

What is the difference between abs plastic vs polypropylene?

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic and polypropylene (PP) are two different thermoplastic materials with distinct properties and applications. ABS is known for its good impact resistance, strength, and ease of processing. It is commonly used in applications such as automotive parts, consumer goods, and electronics. Polypropylene, on the other hand, is characterized by its high chemical resistance, low density, and excellent fatigue resistance. It is often used in applications that require chemical compatibility, such as chemical tanks, packaging, and medical devices. The choice between ABS and polypropylene depends on the specific requirements of the application, with ABS offering better impact resistance and processability, while polypropylene excels in chemical resistance and low density.

What is the difference between abs plastic vs acrylic?

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic and acrylic (PMMA) are two different thermoplastic materials with distinct properties and applications. Acrylic, on the other hand, is characterized by its excellent optical clarity, weather resistance, and scratch resistance. It is often used in applications that require transparency, such as windows, signage, and display cases. The choice between ABS and acrylic depends on the specific requirements of the application, with ABS offering better impact resistance and affordability, while acrylic excels in optical clarity and weather resistance.

What is the difference between abs plastic vs nylon?

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic and nylon are two different thermoplastic materials with distinct properties and applications. Nylon, on the other hand, is characterized by its high strength, toughness, and excellent wear resistance. It is often used in applications that require durability and resistance to abrasion, such as gears, bearings, and mechanical components. The choice between ABS and nylon depends on the specific requirements of the application, with ABS offering better impact resistance and processability, while nylon excels in strength, toughness, and wear resistance.


This article aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to abs plastic, covering its definition, properties, and various applications. We also address common inquiries to help enhance your knowledge of ABS. If you have further questions or would like to explore the topic in more depth, please feel free to reach out to our team.

Ruitai specializes in the manufacturing of prototype parts and offers a range of comprehensive services tailored to meet your prototyping and production needs. We invite you to contact us for a complimentary quote.


Please be aware that the information provided on this webpage is intended for informational purposes only. Ruitai Mould does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or validity of the information presented.

Plastic ABS FAQs

Q1: Are ABS plastics safe?
A1: ABS plastics are generally considered safe for common applications. However, they may release small amounts of potentially harmful chemicals when heated or burned.

Q2: Is ABS recyclable?
A2: Yes, ABS plastic is recyclable. However, the recycling process for ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) can be more challenging compared to other plastics.

Q3: Is acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) toxic?
A3: ABS is not inherently toxic. However, when ABS is heated or burned, it can release potentially harmful fumes, including acrylonitrile, which is a respiratory irritant. It is important to use proper ventilation and avoid inhaling fumes when working with heated or burned ABS.

Q4: Is ABS flexible?
A4: ABS is a relatively rigid plastic compared to some other materials. While it does have some flexibility, it is not considered highly flexible or elastomeric. For applications requiring greater flexibility, other materials may be more suitable.

Q5: Is ABS material strong?
A5: ABS is known for its strength and impact resistance. It offers good mechanical properties, making it suitable for a wide range of applications that require durability and strength.

Q6: Is ABS plastic food safe?
A6: ABS plastic is generally not considered food-safe. It is not recommended for direct contact with food or liquids intended for consumption, as it may contain additives or impurities that could potentially migrate into the food.

Q7: Are ABS plastics strong?
A7: Yes, ABS plastics are known for their strength and impact resistance. They offer good mechanical properties and are commonly used in applications that require durability and strength.

Q8: Is ABS a thermoplastic?
A8: Yes, ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is classified as a thermoplastic. It can be melted and re-molded multiple times without significant degradation, making it suitable for various manufacturing processes such as injection molding and 3D printing.

Q9: Can ABS plastic be painted?
A9: Yes, ABS plastic can be painted. It is important to properly prepare the surface by cleaning and priming it before applying paint to ensure good adhesion and durability.

Q10: can abs plastic be powder coated?
A10: Yes, ABS plastic can also be powder-coated. Powder coating involves applying a dry powder onto the ABS surface and then curing it using heat to form a durable and attractive finish.

Q11: Can ABS plastic be repaired?
A11: Yes, ABS plastic can be repaired using various methods, such as solvent-based adhesives, epoxy resin, or ABS-specific repair kits.

Q12: Can ABS plastic be welded?
A12: Yes, ABS plastic can be welded using techniques like solvent welding or ultrasonic welding. Solvent welding involves using a solvent adhesive that chemically melts the ABS surfaces together, creating a strong bond. Ultrasonic welding uses high-frequency vibrations to create friction and heat between the ABS parts, fusing them.