A polymer blend is the mechanical mixture of different plastics, where in most cases there is no chemical reaction between these materials, unlike copolymerization, where this reaction exists to the point of turning two materials (or more) into a single plastic.

The ABS/PC is a blend widely used in the auto industry,
ex.: inner door handle
What's this for?

One example: you want to inject a rear-view frame that is weatherproof and resistant to the feet of the bikers, but you think that ABS will not handle the job. What do you do? You use an ABS / PC blend, which combines the properties of ABS with the excellent mechanical strength and weather of the polycarbonate. Even the blending of the PC with the ABS makes the processing much easier than using the pure polycarbonate.

How are they made?

Through extruders, usually double-screws for more efficient homogenization.

The double-screw extruder is the ideal type of machine for the production of blends

Faucet produced with ABS/PVC blend
Can I blend any plastic?

No... Many materials are not compatible with each other, some require coupling agents and the mixing of others can still cause damage to the equipment or put the health of the operators at risk. I've heard of two cases where during the purge of machines, PVC with polyacetal or vice versa, there was an explosion where parts of the machines were thrown meters away. The most used blends today are: ABS / PC, ABS / PVC, PC / PBT and PS / PPS, but there are many others for very specific cases.

HARPER, Charles A.; PETRIE, Edward M. Plastics Materials and Process: A Concise Encyclopedia. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003.
WIEBECK, Hélio; HARADA, Júlio. Plásticos de Engenharia: Tecnologia e Aplicações. São Paulo: Artliber Editora, 2005.
Article posted in Apr 28, 2017
About the author: Daniel Tietz Roda is Plastics Technologist graduated from the FATEC/ZL and Mechanical Design Technician from ETEC Aprígio Gonzaga, in São Paulo, Brazil. Roda worked 5 years with technical assistance and development of plastics in industries and nowadays is the publisher of this website.
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