The 12 Most Common Plastic Injection Molding Materials

The 12 Most Common Plastic Injection Molding Materials

Plastic injection molding is a cornerstone of the manufacturing industry, producing a vast array of products for various applications. The choice of material is critical, as each type of plastic offers different properties and benefits. In this comprehensive guide, we explore the 12 most common plastic injection molding materials, their characteristics, and their applications.

1. Polyethylene (PE)

Characteristics: High flexibility, good impact resistance, and low cost.Applications: Packaging materials, containers, and household products.

2. Polypropylene (PP)

Characteristics: Excellent chemical resistance, elasticity, and fatigue resistance.Applications: Automotive parts, medical devices, and food packaging.

3. Polycarbonate (PC)

Characteristics: High strength, toughness, and optical clarity.Applications: Eyewear lenses, bulletproof glass, and electronic components.

4. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Characteristics: Good electrical insulation, chemical resistance, and durability.Applications: Plumbing pipes, medical tubing, and window frames.

5. Polystyrene (PS)

Characteristics: Ease of molding, rigidity, and cost-effectiveness.Applications: Disposable cutlery, CD cases, and insulation materials.

6. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

Characteristics: Good impact strength, toughness, and heat resistance.Applications: Automotive components, toys (like LEGO bricks), and electronic housings.

7. Polyamide (Nylon)

Characteristics: High mechanical strength, durability, and heat resistance.Applications: Gears, bearings, and textile fibers.

8. Polyoxymethylene (POM; Acetal)

Characteristics: High stiffness, low friction, and excellent dimensional stability.Applications: Mechanical gears, zippers, and conveyor belts.

9. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

Characteristics: Good barrier properties, strength, and recyclability.Applications: Beverage bottles, synthetic fibers (like polyester), and food containers.

10. Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU)

Characteristics: Elasticity, oil and grease resistance, and durability.Applications: Footwear, automotive instrument panels, and medical devices.

11. Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK)

Characteristics: Exceptional mechanical and chemical resistance, high-temperature stability.Applications: Aerospace components, medical implants, and automotive parts.

12. Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE)

Characteristics: Flexibility, recyclability, and a rubber-like feel.Applications: Seals, gaskets, and soft-touch parts.

Understanding the Selection Criteria

When selecting a material for injection molding, consider the following factors:

Innovations and Trends in Injection Molding Materials

The plastics industry is continuously evolving, with advancements focusing on sustainability, performance, and cost-efficiency. Recent trends include the development of bio-based plastics, materials with enhanced recyclability, and compounds designed for specific functional enhancements like improved electrical conductivity or flame retardancy.

Environmental Considerations

Sustainability is a growing concern in material selection. Manufacturers are increasingly opting for materials that are recyclable, derived from renewable resources, or designed for longer life cycles to reduce environmental impact.


The choice of material in plastic injection molding significantly influences the product’s performance, appearance, and cost. By understanding the properties and applications of these 12 common materials, manufacturers can make informed decisions that align with their product requirements and market demands. As material science advances, the array of options will continue to expand, offering even greater opportunities for innovation in product design and manufacturing.

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