What is ABS Material


Construction worker carrying hard hat made out of ABS plastic material

When it comes to finding a manufacturing material that is tough and durable, but flexible enough to be used in an array of ways, look no further than ABS material. Not familiar with it? Here’s a breakdown of what is ABS material and how it can be used. 

Properties of ABS

What is ABS material? ABS stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, which is an opaque plastic that’s made through a process called emulsion. This happens by polymerizing styrene and acrylonitrile in the presence of polybutadiene. When the three monomers are combined, the acrylonitrile develops a polar attraction with the other two components, resulting in a tough and highly durable finished product. 

ABS can also be created by using a patented process known as continuous mass polymerization. It can be made in either thick or thin forms to suit various needs. 

4 Benefits of ABS Material

1. It’s durable

ABS is an impact-resistant plastic that can withstand major hits without damage.  

 2. It’s easy to work with

Although it’s tough, ABS can be easily manipulated so you can use it for a variety of projects. It can be molded and melted during the manufacturing process as well as dyed in any color. You can also paint and glue the material later on if needed. 

3. It won’t corrode

ABS won’t rust over time and is unaffected by common chemicals.

4. It’s affordable

Despite its longevity, ABS isn’t an expensive material to make. 

Drawbacks of ABS Material

There is no perfect material, so when figuring out what ABS material should be used for, consider these drawbacks.

  • It isn’t UV resistant, so it can be damaged by sunlight.
  • It can also be damaged by solvents. 
  • It has a low melting point and cannot be used in temperatures above 160 degrees F. 
  • It gives off fumes/smoke when heated too much.
  • It’s not biodegradable and must be recycled.
  • It will degrade if put in high-friction environments.

Uses of ABS 

Despite any drawbacks, you can find ABS plastic in a variety of items, including: 

  • Pipes
  • Fittings
  • Keyboard keys
  • LEGOs and 3D building materials
  • Vacuum parts
  • Refrigeration parts
  • Faceguards
  • Hard hats and helmets
  • Decorative interior car parts
  • Musical instruments
  • Plastic children’s toys
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Office machines such as printers

Final Thoughts

As you can see, ABS material can be purposed in a variety of thicknesses and colors and is used in many different consumer goods. You can browse our variety of ABS sheets and order this FDA-approved plastic online. As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us to learn more.