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TOPIC: Examining three polymer goods or components from the following aspects; -selection of the polymeric material for production -selection of the processing method -comparing the above issues for the ones in which metals are utilized -cost, safety , future applications etc.

The first appliance to be examined is the electric iron that we use to straighten our clothes in everyday life. An iron heats the cloth to a certain temperature to loose the bonds of the material fibers while straightening them at the same time by its own weightor by the force applied on it . So to make them withstand the high temperatures they had been produced of

iron or steel prior to the introduction of polymers. At this point one need to analyse the body and the base of the iron seperately.Becauseit is the base which is subjected to very high temperatures while the body must be rigid and strong.


The loads on an iron body is shown below:

iron or steel prior to the introduction of polymers. At this point one need to analyse


There are some kind of polymers used to produce the casing of a steam- iron however the most popular one is the Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene currently. Acrylonitrile-Butadiene –Styrene (ABS) is a hard & tough thermoplastic copolymer.Itsusage as the housings of electrical appliances is relatively new. On the other hand ABS is considered to be one of the best examples of engineering copolymers that unite toughness ,strength, chemical resistance etc.

Its advantages;

-ABS has a density of about 1,1 g/cc which is rather low with respect to thatof the metals; weighing one third of the same part were to been produced from aliminum.

-Since it is not a conducting material there is not the danger of electric shock due to any accident.

-It is corrosion resistant which is desirable for todays steam-irons working in high vapour condition.


-after all ABS is not as a hard material as any other metal, it has an UTS of about 30 MPa,


The injection molding of the iron casing is carried out as follows; -granules of ABS are added to the hopper,

-ABS is mixed by the shearing action of the screw as well as by external heating; besides the temperature is raised around 140 C,

- as the gate of the mold is opened the molten polymer fills the cavity, -following the cooling, the product is removed from the mold ready for assembly. If the part were processed from a metal; then a similar procedure would be used. However for this time:

-it would be necessary to heat the metal to a much higher degree to melt it down. -in accordance with the above condition cooling time would be much longer ; therefore slowing down the overall production rate, -there is almost no need for secondary processing for the injection molding of ABS unlike for the metals.In other words complexity is virtually unlimited. Naturally there are some points about which special care must be paid during the processing of ABS ; -the possibility of chemical degradation or oxidation must be accounted for while ABS is heated to high temperatures within the injector, -much larger forces must be supplied to the mold by the injector since ABS has a rather high viscosity similar to other thernoplastics.


-From the aesthetical point of view ABS has a perfect and pleasing surface that is desirable since manual force is exerted on the steam-iron while ironing.

-ABS is a non-toxic polymer so it does not have any harmful effect on human health recorded.

-The recycling of ABS is not carried out so often -at its development stage today- though it is possible. Due to the oxidation brought about by the presence of styrene as a result of long years of usage, the mechanical properties of recycled parts would be slightly inferior to that of the virgin materials.

-It is used in a wide range of industry from “button production to aerospace applications”.

-About 350 different grades or blends of ABS has been licensed by different companies demonstarting the current level of research- development on it.


The base of an iron is exposed to very high temperatures;sometimes even reaching 200 C. So the polymeric material to be selected for this application must have a quite high heat resistance. As anticipated thermosets do fit exactly to this task. Another necessity is making the surface of the base such that it never sticks and have a low friction coefficient.


Among thermosets “Polytetrafluoroethylene” (PTFE) also known as “teflon” enjoys a wide range of high temperature applications.It is able to withstand temperatures up to 270 C that is well beyond usual level during ironing. Its superiorities to the metals are stated below:

- As pointed before PTFE has a non-sticking surface as none of us would like to have our shirt stick to the iron and then burn up,

-Related to the same argument the coefficient of friction of PTFE is quite low which is desirable for the ease of ironing, -PTFE has a density about 2.1 g/cc which is lower with respect to metals, -it is essentially an insulator, -the non-corrosive nature of PTFE makes it prefersble from the oxidation point of view. Disadvantages; -Low strength and stiffness with respect to metals,

-though PTFE can withstand to temperatures as high as 270 C it is not comparable with that of the metals, as an example aliminum melts at 660 C. In case of an accidental steady temperature rise this condition may lead to trouble.


Actually there is an irony between the fact that “teflon is a non-sticking material” and “how to join it to the body of the good produced”. Since the melting point of PTFE is too high molding is not practical. There are various tecniques such as “the utilization of polyamide-imide adhesives” or “sintering the teflon powder under compression to the required shape” and so on. However the most suitable application of teflon to the iron base is the teflon coating which is the usual procedure as well.The coating can be applied to any kind of material from metals to ceramics.

Coating is carried out in the following manner;

- The item to be coated was first heated to temperatures above 340 C degrees,

-the parts to be coated are immersed in a “fluidized bed"—a layer of teflon powder that was rinsed with a stream of air until it behaved like a liquid,

-then dipped in the fluidized bed,

-if needed this order can be repeated several times to get a sufficiently thick film of teflon.

The coating with teflon has some advantages over the molding of the iron base using any kind of metal:

- The nature of the process -that’s to say coating itself -can be carried our by more ease with respect to molding or machining processes with metals that would otherwise had to been utilized.

-Since the thickness of the coating is on the order of microns ;it would not interfere with the fit of the coated part,

-The thickness of the coating can be controlled by either repetition or the adjustment of the air flow-rate,

-the process essentially has no volatile emissions The disadvantages to be considered;

-Whether a disadvantage or not is a question mark; PTFE can not be melt processed.

-If the coating to be applied is too thin then there may ocur peelimg on the surface of the layer.


- Unfortunately PTFE as being a copolymer can not be obtained by simple polymerization techniques which makes the cost somewhat high.

-From the first development of PTFE the possible health effects have always been taken seriously by the company Du Pont holding its license.

So the steps had been taken seriously towards the use of teflon for home appliances. However so far any kind of health harm had not been reported about teflons despite the strong resistance put forward by some environmentalists.Nowadays most of the cooking pans are also coated by teflon.

-There is a very wide range for PTFE grades. In other words by changing the amounts of its components its properties can be changed

-Powder coatings have a major advantage in that the overspray can be recycled.


The so-called agitator can actually be observed for the top-loader type washers. For these ones the motor drives the spinning tub and the agitator during washing. Mechanical energy is transferred to the clothes by the rotation of the agitator .The loadings on the part are shown below;

SELECTED POLYMER: POLYPROPYLENE (PP) Actually there are a number of engineering thermoplastic that are currently used


Actually there are a number of engineering thermoplastic that are currently used for the production of the part including ABS, HIPS etc. besides metals of course. However the use of polypropylene for the agitators are becoming more popular nowadays. Polypropylene is more eligible then the metals from some points that are stated below;

-As common with all other polymers their density which ranges between 0.9-1.4 g/cc is much lower than the metals rendering their products much lighter.

-It has a high fatigue resistance that’s expected for this application. Although not a superiority over the metals; it is important from the design point of view since agitators are prone to fatigue type of failure.

-As a lacking of them the resistance of polyproplyenes to oxidation is not that high as the other engineering polymers especially at high temperatures. But it is anyhow better than the metals.


This process in reality is a sub method within the framework of thermoforming processes. The main difference for this one is that the molds are preheated before the introduction of the polymer sheet to much lower temperature levels with respect to the temperature of the polymer used. Then the polymer sheet is blown into the mold and finally sintering is applied.


-as anticipated the temperature levels to melt down the polymer is incomparably lower with respect to that of the metals,

-the preheating of the molds before the molding reduces the corrosive tendency of the material; which can be a major problem for the metals,

disadvantages; -parts used by solid phase forming generally do not have high strentghs.

-a simple vacuum may not be insufficient for the material to fill the cavity exactly, so a certain prestretching force must be applied on it prior to the blowing.


-Initiated by the European automative industry; the recycling of polypropylenes are applied in a large scale. In order to use recycled polypropylenes ;regranulation are generally performed.Moreover due to the versatility of polypropylene, recycled material can be used for the production of another product instead of the original one.

-From the safety aspect; care must be taken not to expose the personel working in a plant using polypropylene as material. If it can reach to the lungs via inhaling somehow; some disorders may emerge in the pulmonary system.

-Although polyproplylene wastes do not threaten the nature seriously ; their degradation takes rather long times.

-Polyproplylenes can indeed be regarded as a transition material between ordinary LDPE, PE etc. and the engineering thermoplastics.Currently they areused extensively in automotive, appliances & packaging industry. Construction sectors and medicine are also the some of the areas polypropylene is welcomed to some extent. Since it has been used for a long time for now; there is a considerable database about their usages.There are debating opinions about the future of polypropylenes. Some claim that engineering materials wipe them out from engineering applications while some others find polypropylenes having more compromising features. It seems that future applications for

polyproplylene can be promising mostly, if their blends with some other engineering thermoplastics are researched & developed intensely as also being the current progress .