Polymer Names

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The naming of polymers has changed as chemists seek to put the most common materials into databases. The old names tended to be confusing as the base polymer was often at the end of the abbreviation, for instance Polyethylene (PE) was available in several varieties such as High Density PE (HDPE), Low Density PE (LDPE) and Linear Low Density PE (LLDPE). If these were in alphabetical order they would not be near one another in a database and it would be hard to see the relationship between the materials. The new naming convention is that the base polymer is first with any modifiers to the polymer after a hyphen. For instance the three examples given above are now:

Polyethylene - High Density (PE-HD)

Polyethylene - Low Density (PE-LD)

Polyethylene - Linear Low Density (PE-LLD)

This makes the polymers easy to find and categorise.

A selection of abbreviations for plastics materials and plasticisers as recommended by the International Standards Organisations in "Plastics symbols : ISO 1043 - 21978(E)". The more common British descriptions and abbreviations are also included.

 

Polymer Name

Official Abbreviation

Old Abbreviation

Common Name

Acrylonitrile-butadiene-acrylate

ABA    

Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene

ABS

-

-

Cellulose acetate

CA

-

-

Cellulose acetate butyrate

CAB

-

-

Cellulose acetate propionate

CAP

-

-

Cellulose nitrate

CN

-

-

Cellulose proponiate

CP

-

-

Casein

CS

-

-

Ethylene-vinyl-acetate

EVA

-

-

Epoxide, epoxy

EP

-

-

Ethylene-vinyl acetate

EVA

-

-

Melamine formaldehyde

MF

-

-

Phenol formaldehyde

PF

-

Phenolic-

Polyacetal - see Polyoxymethylene

 

 

 

Polyamide

PA

-

Nylon

Polyaryletherketone

PEEK

-

-

Polybutylene

PB

-

-

Polybutylene naphthalate

PBN

-

-

Polybutylene terephthalate

PBTP

PBT

-

Polycarbonate

PC

-

-

Polychlorotrifluorethylene

PCTFE

-

-

Polydiallyl phthalate

PDAP

DAP

-

Polyethylene

PE

-

-

Polyethylene, high density

PE-HD

HDPE

-

Polyethylene, low density

PE-LD

LDPE

-

Polyethylene, linear low density

PE-LLD

LLDPE

-

Polyethylene, high molecular weight

PE-HMW

HMWPE

-

Polyethylene naphthalate

PEN

-

-

Polyetherimide

PEI

-

-

Polyethersulphone

PES

-

-

Polyethylene terephthalate

PETP

-

PET

Polyimide

PI

-

-

Polymethyl methacrylate

PMMA

-

Acrylic, Perspex

Poly-4-methylpentene-1

PMP

-

-

Polyoxymethylene

POM

-

Acetal

Polypropylene

PP

-

-

Polyphenylene oxide

PPOX

PPO

-

Polystyrene

PS

-

-

Polystyrene, high impact

PS-HI

HIPS

-

Polytetrafluoroethylene

PTFE

-

-

Polytrimethylene terepthalate

PTTP

-

PTT

Polyurethane

PUR

PU

-

Polyvinyl acetate

PVAC

-

-

Polyvinyl alcohol

PVAL

-

PVA

Polyvinyl chloride

PVC

-

-

Polyvinyl chloride, chlorinated

PVC-C

-

-

Polyvinyl chloride, plasticized

PVC-P

-

-

Polyvinyl chloride, unplasticized

PVC-U

-

u-PVC

Polyvinylidene chloride

PVDC

-

-

Polyvinyl fluoride

PVF

-

-

Styrene-acrylonitrile

SAN

-

-

Silicone

SI

-

-

Urea formaldehyde

UF

-

-

Unsaturated polyester

UP

-

-

The favourite polymer of most people is PPTKO - also known as "Poly (put the kettle on)".

 

Last edited: 11/03/10

Tangram Technology Ltd. 1998

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