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impact resistant plastics

The 7 Most Common Impact-Resistant Plastics

Impact resistance plastics are specialized materials designed to withstand high-impact forces without breaking or deforming. These plastics are commonly used in applications such as automotive parts, protective gear, and construction materials due to their durability and strength.

The seven types of impact-resistant plastics you need to know about include Polycarbonate (PC), Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), Polyethylene

Terephthalate Glycol(PET), Polyamide(Nylon), High-density Polyethylene(HDPE), Polytetrafluoroethylene(PTFE ) - Teflon, and PEEK.

Each type offers unique properties and benefits, making them suitable for various industrial and commercial applications.

What is Impact-Resistant Plastics

what is impact resistant plastics
What is Impact-Resistant Plastics

Impact-resistant plastics are specialized materials designed to absorb and dissipate energy from impacts, preventing cracks or breaks under stress. Essential for applications where durability and safety are paramount—such as automotive parts, safety equipment, and construction materials—they achieve their resilience through specialized molecular structures that allow them to deform and recover without permanent damage.

Various materials and formulations determine a material’s impact resistance, with plastics achieving strengths from 10 to 80 kJ/m². Polycarbonate, for example, withstands impacts up to 70 kJ/m², ideal for high-stress applications.

Common characteristics of impact-resistant plastics include:

  • High Toughness
  • Flexibility
  • Durability
  • Chemical Resistance
  • Temperature Stability
  • Lightweight
  • Ease of Machining

What Impact Resistance Means for CNC Machining

abs cnc machining
abs cnc machining

Impact resistance is critical in CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining, particularly when working with plastics. Here’s what it means and why it’s important:

Material Integrity

Impact resistance plastics can withstand the forces exerted by CNC tools without cracking, chipping, or breaking. This ensures that the material remains intact throughout the machining process, leading to higher-quality finished products.

Tool Life

Using impact resistance materials can extend the lifespan of CNC tools. Since these plastics are less likely to shatter or splinter, they cause less wear and tear on the cutting tools, reducing the frequency of tool replacements and maintenance.

Precision and Accuracy

Impact-resistant plastics maintain their structural integrity under stress, which is crucial for achieving high precision and accuracy in CNC machining. This is especially important for parts that require tight tolerances and exact specifications.

Surface Finish

These plastics are less prone to damage during machining, resulting in smoother surface finishes. This can be particularly beneficial for applications where the appearance and texture of the final product are important.

Polycarbonate (PC)

cnc machined pc parts
CNC Machined Polycarbonate (PC) Parts

Polycarbonate is currently believed to be the Best Impact Resistant Plastic known for its exceptional toughness and optical clarity. It can withstand impacts up to 70 kJ/m², making it ideal for demanding applications such as eyewear lenses, safety helmets, and automotive components. Its lightweight nature makes handling easier and reduces the overall product weight, while its durability ensures long-lasting performance. Additionally, polycarbonate maintains its properties over a wide temperature range, enhancing its suitability for various environments.

The most important features of polycarbonate include high impact resistance, excellent transparency, and good chemical resistance, making it resistant to many chemicals, oils, and solvents. It is also easy to fabricate, as it can be readily molded or cnc machining for diverse applications. These attributes make polycarbonate a versatile and reliable material for both industrial and consumer products requiring high-impact strength and durability.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

abs cnc part

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene or ABS refers to one of the types of thermoplastic polymers that have very good mechanical application characteristics and are easy to work on. Its primary copolymers are as follows: acrylonitrile and styrene provide the nodule and rigidity and polybutadiene rubber provides the impact module. Among products made with ABS, automotive parts, consumer electronics, and household appliances are the most popular ones given the material’s durability and adaptability.

Some of the characteristic features of ABS include good impact strength, fairly good heat-resisting properties, and relatively easy machinability. It also has reasonable behavior towards chemical agents and thus is usable in many applications. These components can be easily formed through injection molding, extrusion or even 3D printing and they afford intricate part geometry. Even its possible coloring and finishing make it even more attractive for use in the production of consumer goods. For this reason, specific characteristics of ABS make it suitable especially in applications where strength, toughness, and ease of manufacturing and processing are considered essential needs.

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

Polyethylene terephthalate otherwise referred to as PET is a common thermoplastic polymer that boasts of qualities such as strength, lightweight, optical clarity, and resistance to chemicals. PET is most widely known for its application in drink bottles, processed food containers, and man-made fibers. This characteristic of polyethylene, its lightweight, and its moisture and gas-resistant barrier makes it perfect for preserving the quality and quality of consumable goods.

The advantages of PET as a material for bottle manufacturing are as follows: high tensile strength, excellent dimensional stability, and resistance to environmental stress cracking. It also provides better mechanical properties than the original density including clarity and gloss, and exceptional fatigue resistance. which makes it to be suitable for packaging. PET is easily recyclable which makes it to be favorite of many industries that have made it a central focus of sustainability. Furthermore, it can be thermoformed, injection molded, and blow molded, thus giving products a broad field of application. These attributes make PET a favored material for use where there is a need to have a product that will be strong, transparent, and above all, is reusable or ideally, recyclable.


nylon cnc machining part
Nylon CNC Machining Part

Polyamide is a high-performance thermoplastic polymer with a wide application spectrum due to its appealing mechanical properties such as high tensile strength, flexibility, and wear resistance.

Applications include use in the making of precision parts, car parts, and other products for industrial uses. Nylon has better resistance to chemicals, heat, and wear and tear, it has low frictional properties; therefore, used for gears, bearing, and sliding elements.

This means that it can be used in a wide variety of applications, for relatively everyday objects as well as for more specific usage in the field of engineering and machinery design. One of the advantages of nylon is that it has a great tensile strength, Nylon excels under physical stress, reinforcing its position as a favored material in diverse industrial settings.

High-density Polyethylene(HDPE)

HDPE stands for High-Density Polyethylene and is classified as one of the thermoplastics that are well acclaimed for offering strength, endurance, and chemical stability. The most common usage noted for this material is in packaging, construction, and other sectors because of its sheer hardness and ability to withstand shock and impact.

HDPE is relatively light in weight, does not dissolve in water thus can be easily installed in areas where there is excessive moisture or even direct sunlight, and has a greater ability to endure even the worst that weather can throw at it since it is an excellent outdoor application and underground application pipe. In addition, it, is industrially reusable and has excellent electric insulation characteristics which makes it fit for electrical and plumbing uses.

High-density polyethylene has a lot of benefits such as flexibility, high strength, and durability that make its application broad within different sectors.

Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK)

precision peek machining 副本
Precision CNC Machined Peek Part

This section focuses on polyether ether ketone (PEEK), which is a high-performance thermoplastic material that boasts such attributes as high stiffness, high strength, and excellent resistance to chemicals. PEEK shows high flammability resistance, high mechanical strength properties, and is hardly soluble in most solvents and chemical liquids. It is often employed in critical uses such as aerospace applications, automobiles, and medical sectors, because of its increased prowess under challenging circumstances.

PEEK is lightweight, it has a biocompatibility aspect to it, and it has low flammability characteristics hence its used in medical implants and components. Because of PEEK’s thermal stability to allows it to hold shape at high temperatures and its wearing and abrasive-resistant properties, PEEK is strongly recommended for applications that require reliability.

Polytetrafluoroethylene(PTFE ) – Teflon

teflon machined part
Teflon Machined Part

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known as Teflon, is a versatile synthetic fluorocarbon prized for its exceptional properties.

With a focus on low temperatures, PTFE excels in applications requiring resilience in extreme conditions. Its low thermal expansion makes it ideal for environments where dimensional stability is crucial.

Additionally, PTFE’s suitability for food storage components is attributed to its biocompatibility and inert nature, ensuring the safety of stored items. This remarkable plastic offers a unique combination of low-temperature resilience, low thermal expansion characteristics, and reliability in food storage applications, solidifying its position as a top choice in various industries.

How to Choose the Right Impact-Resistant Plastic for Your Project

When you’re designing a part for your project, it’s important to choose the right impact-resistant plastic. You’ll need to consider a variety of factors, including the specific requirements of the application, environmental conditions, and budget. Consider the following when making your decision:

  • Mechanical properties: Evaluate the strength, flexibility, and impact resistance required for your application.
  • Chemical resistance: Determine if the plastic needs to withstand attack from chemicals or a harsh environment.
  • Thermal stability: Consider the plastic’s operating temperature range and thermal properties.
  • Machinability: Evaluate ease of processing and compatibility with CNC equipment.
  • Cost: Balance the material’s performance characteristics with budget constraints.

Below we’ve included this table for your reference:

Plastic Properties

Plastic Properties

Plastic Material Mechanical Properties Chemical Resistance Thermal Stability Machinability Cost
Polycarbonate (PC) High impact strength, good toughness Resistant to acids, bases, solvents Good up to 140°C (284°F) Moderate Moderate
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) Good impact resistance, rigidity Resistant to acids, bases, alcohols Decomposes above 100°C (212°F) Moderate Moderate
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) High strength, stiffness, dimensional stability Resistant to most chemicals Good up to 150°C (302°F) Good Moderate
Polyamide (Nylon) High strength, toughness, abrasion resistance Resistant to oils, solvents Good up to 160°C (320°F) Good Moderate
High-density Polyethylene (HDPE) High impact strength, chemical resistance Resistant to most chemicals Good up to 80°C (176°F) Good Low
Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK) High mechanical strength, heat resistance Resistant to most chemicals Good up to 260°C (500°F) Moderate High
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) Low friction, heat resistance, chemical resistance Resistant to most chemicals Good up to 260°C (500°F) Moderate High


Impact-resistant plastics play a crucial role in various industries, offering durability, safety, and reliability. Understanding the properties and applications of different impact resistance plastics is essential for making informed decisions in your projects.

at machining plastic cnc machining
AT-Machining Plastic CNC Machining

Seeking precision plastic CNC machining services from China? Look no further than AT-Machining. Discover our expertise in delivering high-quality impact-resistant plastics tailored to your project needs. Visit us today for exceptional solutions.

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