Thermoset - definition, properties and examples of thermoset

What is a Thermoset?


Thermoset materials are those materials that are made by polymers joined together by chemical bonds, acquiring a highly crosslinked polymer structure.

The highly crosslinked structure produced by chemical bonds in thermoset materials, is directly responsible for the high mechanical and physical strength (high strength to support high stress or load, temperature ...) compared with thermoplastics or elastomers materials.

On the other hand is this highly crosslinked structure which provides a poor elasticity or elongation of this materials.

Imagine that on a table we have a set of strings mixed with each other, each of these strings is what we call polymer, we introduce some effort if we want to separate the strings from each other, now began to make knots between each of the strings, we see that as more knots made more ordered and rigid becomes all the set of the strings, in this example the knots represent the chemical bonds, which make the polymers to be strongly linked each other and form highly crosslinked polymeric structures.

polymer structures

One of characteristic parameter of thermosets materials are the gel point, which refers to the time when the material changes from an irreversible way-viscous liquid state to a solid state during the curing process. Once has been transferred the gel point the material stops flowing and it can not be molded or processed grid.

One of the negative aspects of thermosets is its no ability to recycle, because once they are crosslinked or cured it is impossible to return to a liquid phase material. Thermoset materials have the property of not melt or deforming in presence of temperature or heat before pass to a gaseous state to a liquid state.

Thermoset material properties:

Examples and applications of thermoset plastic materials:

Examples of thermoset adhesives:

Now that you know thermosets materials, did you know that the bodies of the formula 1 are made by thermoset plastic material?

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