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ABS resins are terpolymers of acrylonitrile, butadiene and styrene. These medium-priced, amorphous thermoplastics are hard, rigid and tough, even at low temperatures. Various grades offer different levels of impact strength - a function of butadiene content. Heat resistant, flame-retardant and platable grades are also available. Most natural ABS resins are translucent to opaque, but they are also produced in transparent grades, and they can be pigmented to almost any color. Grades are available for injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, foam molding and thermoforming.

Some grades of ABS are compounded with other resins to achieve special properties. For example, ABS is alloyed with polycarbonate to achieve a better balance of heat and impact properties at an intermediate cost. Deflection temperature is improved by the polycarbonate; molding ease is improved by the ABS. Other ABS resins are used to modify rigid PVC for use in pipe, sheeting and molded parts.

ABS plastics offer a good balance of tensile strength, impact and abrasion resistance, dimensional stability, surface hardness, rigidity, heat resistance, low temperature properties, chemical resistance and electrical characteristics. ABS parts have enough spring to accommodate shallow, snap-fit assembly requirements.

Impact properties of ABS are exceptionally good at room temperature and, with special resin grades, at temperatures as low as -40°F. General-purpose ABS grades may be adequate for some outdoor applications (depending on design and performance requirements) but prolonged exposure to sunlight causes a color change and reduces surface gloss, impact strength, hardness and elastic modulus. Pigmenting the resins black, laminating with opaque acrylic sheet and applying certain coating systems provide optimum resistance to weathering.

Molded ABS parts are almost completely unaffected by water, salts, most inorganic acids, food acids and alkalines, but much depends on time, temperature and stress levels. Molded ABS products are used in both protective and decorative applications of many industrial and consumer products. Examples include football helmets, camper tops, housing for small appliances, communications equipment, business machines, automotive instrument panels, pipe and fittings and home security devices. Chrome-plated ABS has replaced die cast metals in plumbing hardware and automobile grills, wheel covers and mirror housings. Typical products vacuum-formed from extruded ABS sheet are refrigerator liners, luggage shells, tote trays, mower shrouds, boat hulls and large components for recreational vehicles.

Physical properties of utility grade ABS are not consistently defined. Please advise us of your critical requirements.

  Standard ABS Grades
ASTM or UL TestPhysical PropertyHigh ImpactSuperhigh ImpactMedium Impact
D792Specific gravity1.04-1.201.02-1.051.06
D638Tensile strength (psi)5,100-5,9005,000-6,3005,300-5,500
D638Elongation (%)5-205-705-25
D638Tensile modulus (105 psi)3.32.0-3.53.6-4.0
D790Flexural strength (psi)8,000-10,6006,000-11,50011,500
D790Flexural modulus (105 psi)3.42.0-3.53.6-4.0
D256Impact strength,
Izod (ft-lb/in of notch)
D785Hardness, Rockwell R10369-105107
D696Coefficient of thermal
expansion (10-5 in/in-°F)
D648Deflection temp.† *(°F)   
 At 264 psi188192179
 At 66 psi203208200
UL 94Flammability ratingHBHBHB
D149Dielectric strength (V/mil)
Short time, 1/8-in thk
D495Arc resistance (s)8950-8550-85
§0.060-in thick samples†Unannealed.  
*Density has a marked effect.   

Please inquire about the availability of medium and high impact ABS. Utility grade ABS is available in black and white.