Since its mass production from the 1950s, plastics were regarded as the “wonder material”. Though considered as an environmental problem today, it will be difficult for other materials to take their place. Plastics are cheap, light, strong, tough, and do not corrode. That is why plastics are suited not only for producing plastic containers but other everyday products as well. Below are some of the advantages of plastic containers.
Plastics are great materials when it comes to formability. Plastics can be molded, cast, rolled, pressed, stamped, extruded, and so on. They can be formed into complex shapes including those that are difficult or impossible for other materials. The dies and tools used to form plastics are also easier to make. Forming plastic containers does not require as much pressure as that of glass or metal containers forming.
Resists degradation from chemicals and water:
Plastic containers do not corrode or degrade the same way as metals. Metals develop rust which weakens the structural integrity of the container. Rust also poses a threat of product contamination, especially for food and pharmaceutical products. Only a few materials can compare to the degradation resistance of plastic. An example is glass which has many limitations when used as containers.
Plastics have densities around 0.8 to 1.5 times that of water. Steels have densities of around 7.8 times while glass and ceramics are around 2 to 3 times. This just shows that plastics are significantly lighter than metals and glass for the same application. Moreover, some plastics are engineered to have a high strength-to-mass ratio. Containers made from these plastics have thinner walls which further reduces their mass.
Can be made extremely flexible to high strength:
Plastic containers can be made from different types of chemicals and through various processes. Each type of plastic has its inherent mechanical properties. These properties are modified by compounding special additives that can improve its flexibility and strength. Examples of these additives are glass and carbon fibers. Adding fibers into a plastic matrix creates a composite material with better tensile and flexural strength.
High impact and tear resistance:
Plastics are made from long, chained molecules that arranged themselves in crystalline structures or amorphous structures. Their structure gives them their inherent elasticity. Plastics do not fail easily through brittle fracture and cracking. Tearing is an issue that is resolved by including additives or by using a polymer base with high tensile strength.
Good aesthetics and surface characteristics:
The appearance of plastic containers is fully customizable. Plastic containers can be made into clear, translucent, or fully opaque products. They can also have different colors by adding pigments. When it comes to surface characteristics, plastics have a variety of finishes and textures without using expensive secondary operations.