This book bridges the technology and business aspects of thermoplastics, providing a guide designed for engineers working in real-world industrial settings. The author explores the criteria for material selection, provides a detailed guide to each family of thermoplastics, and also explains the various processing options for each material type.

More than 30 families of thermoplastics are described with information on their advantages and drawbacks, special grades, prices, transformation processes, applications, thermal behaviour, technological properties (tenacity, friction, dimensional stability), durability (ageing, creep, fatigue), chemical and fire behaviour, electrical properties, and joining possibilities. Biron explores the technological properties and economics of the major thermoplastics and reinforced thermoplastics, such as polyethylene, and emerging polymers such as polybenzimidazole, Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPEs) and bioplastics.

In the second edition, a new section ‘plastics solutions for practical problems’ provides over 25 case studies illustrating a wide range of design and production challenges across the spectrum of thermoplastics, from metal and glass replacement solutions, to fire retardant plastics and antimicrobials. In addition, Biron provides major new material on bioplastics and wood plastic composites (WPCs), and fully updated data throughout.

Key Features

  • Combining materials data, information on processing techniques, and economic aspects (pricing), Biron provides a unique end-to-end approach to the selection and use of materials in the plastics industry and related sectors
  • Includes a new section of case studies, illustrating best practice across a wide range of applications and industry sectors
  • New material on bioplastics and sustainable composites


Engineers involved in the design, manufacturing and use of thermoplastic and composite products; equipment manufacturers. Sectors: automotive, aerospace, ship-building, industrial and military equipment, electrical engineering, offshore, sports and leisure, medical devices, consumer goods and packaging

Table of Contents


Acronyms and Abbreviations

1. Outline of the Actual Situation of Plastics Compared to Conventional Materials

1.1 Polymers: The Industrial and Economic Reality Compared to Traditional Materials

1.2 What Are Thermoplastics, Thermoplastic Elastomer, Thermosets, Composites, and Hybrids?

1.3 Plastics: An Answer to the Designer’s Main Problems

1.4 Outline of the Technical and Economic Possibilities of Processing

1.5 Environmental Constraints

1.6 The Final Material/Process/Cost Compromise


2. The Plastics Industry: Economic Overview

2.1 Overview of the Global Plastics Industry Today and Tomorrow

2.2 Market Shares of the Various Thermoplastic Families

2.3 Market Shares of Composites

2.4 Market Shares for the Main Application Sectors

2.5 Importance of the Various Processing Modes

2.6 Consumption Trends

2.7 The North American Market

2.8 The Western European Market

2.9 The Asian Market

2.10 Structure of the Plastics Processing Industry

2.11 Plastic Costs

2.12 Survey of Main Markets

2.13 The Future: Two Important Issues Linked to Crude Oil: Costs and Drying Up


3. Basic Criteria for the Selection of Thermoplastics

3.1 Evaluation of Plastic Properties

3.2 Evaluation of Plastic Structural Properties

3.3 ISO and ASTM Standards Concerning Polymer Testing

3.4 Analysis and Diagnostic Equipment

3.5 Material Selection

3.6 Precision of the Molded Parts

3.7 Schematic Comparison of Thermoplastic and Composite Properties

3.8 Upgrading and Customization of Raw Polymers

4. Detailed Accounts of Thermoplastic Resins

4.1 Polyethylene or Polythene

4.2 Polypropylene

4.3 Other Polyolefins

4.4 PO and Nonpolyolefin Copolymers

4.5 Chlorinated Polyethylene


No. of pages:
© 2013
William Andrew
eBook ISBN:
Print ISBN:

About the author

Michel Biron

Chemist engineer: Institut National Superieur de Chimie Industrielle de Rouen and Polymer Specialist: International Finance Corporation. Author of numerous technical papers and plastics books, including two with Elsevier – Thermoplastics and Thermoplastic Composites, and Thermosets and Composites.

Affiliations and Expertise

Plastics Consultant, Les Ulis, France