ABS is perhaps the best-known plastic among product designers. Despite its amorphous structure, ABS is not transparent.

Why choose it?

  • Easy to process, no need for deburring
  • Minimal tendency to warp
  • Excellent surface appearance
  • Good impact resistance even in low temperatures
  • Relatively inexpensive (ABS is often classified as a commodity plastic)

Why not choose it?

  • Poor thermal resistance. ABS becomes fairly soft already at temperatures as low as 80°C.
  • Chemicals, e.g. CRC or nail polish remover are poison for ABS.
  • Prone to stress-cracking. Assembly snap joints etc. should be designed in a way that they are not subjected to continuous load.
  • Poor UV resistance. ASA could be a better choice.

Typical applications:

  • Electronic housings
  • Lego blocks
  • Computer mouse
  • Housing of a toaster
Note: The transparent modification of ABS is called MABS.

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