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Polypropylene Analysis and Usages

The distinctive characteristics of Polypropylene are its low density, high chemical resistance, its toughness and it would be able to orientated (Moore, 1996). The applications to which Polypropylene has been found to be particularly suited are in the field of films and fibers and to this end different technologies have been developed which make it possible ‘to stretch’ the polymer, significantly enhancing its properties.



The Polypropylene orientation is result of heating the item to a temperature at which the crystals are partially melted, 120-160°C, stretching it to the target shape and next step is cooling it during the stretching to reform the crystals in such a way as to retain their orientation. The macromolecular chains are forced to align themselves during this processing and can very easily form crystals: Moreover, the most macroscopic effect is increase sharply in crystallinity. Alongside, the awesome phenomenon caused by orientation, there is also an increase in toughness and in the flexural modulus, which grow in proportion to the amount of stretching. The increasing of toughness and rigidity is showed by the high number of chains aligned in the stretching direction, consequently a smaller section can accept a heavier load. The orientation also has significant effects on the low temperature impact resistance, while it causes of decreasing the elongation at break. If it is reheated to a temperature close to its melt point, the item shrinks and has the tendency to assume a form similar to that of a non-orientated piece. Very important from the application point of view are Polypropylene bi-orientated films (BOPP). The properties of a BO Polypropylene can be seen in Table 1, in comparison with those of other films obtained from other polymers.







   Traction resistance (MPa)





   Flexural modulus (MPa)





   Elongation at break (%)





   Tear resistance (N/mm)





   Opacity (%)





   Transport velocity O2ASTM D1434





Table 1. Comparison of the properties of film obtained from Polypropylene and BOPolypropylene and other polymeric materials



one of the important Polypropylene application is homopolymer, consists of its use in obtaining orientated fibers which are used, for instance, in the production of the common raffia. The processing method including, obtaining a sheet of homopolymer through an extrusion process and then passing it through a series of blades to gain the ribbons.

Another method for gaining the oriented fiber is to extrude molten strands and simultaneously cool them with high-speed air. The strip of fiber thus obtained is collected on a mobile support and hot-welded into a nonwoven fabric (spunbonded). Homopolymers with medium-high fluidity and a narrow MWD are used for these applications. Another way of process, the fibers are ‘melt-blown’, orientated through the effect of the air which comes out of the nozzle along with the polymer. The melt-blown process enables very thin fibers to be obtained which contained not heat-welded.

in Table 2 the properties of orientated Polypropylene fiber are shown and compared with nylon and polyester fibers.

The fibers thus obtained are used in the production of raffia, which in turn is used to produce ropes. The development of this technology placed at the beginning of 1960s, was facilitated by the fact that it was possible to adapt the equipment typically used in producing of ropes without having to carry out any special modifications. These products would be used to supply fabric for bags, waxed fabrics, and geo-membranes for the construction of embankments and for civil engineering applications. in the carpet sector Polypropylene has several applications, both for the so-called primary or base part and for the secondary part.






   Melt temperature (°C)




   Density (g/cm3)




   Toughness (MPa)




   Elongation at break (%)




   Modulus (MPa)




   Shrinkage at 100°C (%)




   Absorption of humidity (%)




Table 2. Comparison of the properties of orientated Polypropylene fibres and fibres obtained from other polymeric materials


Specialized applications

Nonwoven-fabrics: the most important application of Polypropylene is in the field of nonwoven fabrics, made possible by the availability of a polymer with high fluidity and a narrow MWD. nonwoven fabrics is including three different types and characterized by different properties, appearances, obtained through the following production methods: spunbonded, carded and thermobonded webs from staple fibers and melt-blown. The first are very tough, while the second are voluminous and soft. Melt-blown technology uses Polypropylene with high fluidity and produces fine fibers (2-4 microns’ diameter), suitable for fabrics with high absorbing power and selective filtering capability.

In conclusion, the section with the highest consumption of nonwoven fabrics today is that of disposable diapers, of which they form the outer covering. The non-hygroscopic nature of Polypropylene makes it particularly suited to such applications, preventing prolonged contact of the fluid with the skin. The high cost of laundering and sterilizing hospital garments has opened-up an important sector for the use of nonwoven Polypropylene in the field of single-use garments: the fabric is light, non-allergenic and resistant to chemical agents and moulds; moreover, it can be disposed of through very simple procedures such as incineration.


Automotive components is Another important application in Polypropylene which used since the Eighties is in the automotive sector. The profile of its physic mechanical properties, for example the balance of rigidity/impact resistance, combined with its aesthetic properties, such as its receptiveness to painting, has allowed Polypropylene to compete with other polymer materials, such as techno polymers or other engineering materials. nowadays, PP-based materials account for 90% of the market for car bumpers. The bumpers design has undergone rapid evolution in recent years, to the extent that, over and above their mechanical function, they now have an aesthetic value, often being an integral part of the bodywork, being painted and housing the lighting equipment. Need to be noted that the continued improvement in the properties mechanical for the materials in bumpers has led to a progressive reduction in the thickness of the items which lead to material saving, giving a sharp reduction in weight and a significant reduction in fuel consumption. Even the optimization of the rheologic characteristics has allowed a simplification of the moulding process through a decreasing of the cycle time. There have been similar developments in various external and internal car components, for example wiring and hot melt adhesives for carpets back and imitation leathers. It must be emphasized that this massive rate of Polypropylene using in cars leads to to propose a ‘single material’ solution caused to have easier recycling.


Rigid packaging product: Rigid packaging is a term used to describe articles such as containers for margarine and yoghurt, jars, bottles and boxes of various types. The containers including several different shapes and sizes and are supplying by three principal processes: injection moulding, blow moulding and thermoforming. according to the latter process, orientation of the Polypropylene caused to have more transparent for item, rigid and impact-resistant. The fields of application are sealed containers for oven or microwave ready convenience foods and for freezers; in addition to which the favorable cost/performance balance has led to the adoption of Polypropylene for blown bottles as well. Polypropylene is also the preferred resin for closures such as caps and lids. The high rigidity and fluidity of the material which can be obtained with the new production processes, helps to mould containers with very thin walls, in compliance with the general guidelines from environmental protection agencies to decrease the volume of packaging.

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