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View Full Version : Is Polymer a fancy name for Plastic?


Freebird76
12-02-2011, 5:13 PM
Or is it materially different somehow? Plastic as far as I know is made from petroleum products that are melted and molded into shape. Magazines, holsters, and even firearms are made from it. When I see polymer products in catalogs like Midway or Brownell's, I wonder if it just sounds better and is easier to sell if they call it polymer instead of plastic.

Bolillo
12-02-2011, 5:15 PM
Yep, it's the same thing.

Merc1138
12-02-2011, 5:15 PM
Yes. Plastics(well, most of them. there are some monomers too) are a type of polymer. All polymer means is "a large molecule made of repeated structural units".

Now composite, that's when you have something like a nylon reinforced with another material.

They use the term "polymer" for the exact reason you guessed, it sounds better. A lot of people think of the cheap crap they make $2 squirtguns out of when they hear "plastic", so calling it "polymer" makes it seem like some extra fancy stuff was done to it.

nani
12-02-2011, 5:17 PM
"A polymer is a large molecule (macromolecule) composed of repeating structural units. These subunits are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds. Although the term polymer is sometimes taken to refer to plastics, it actually encompasses a large class comprising both natural and synthetic materials with a wide variety of properties."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymer

SoCalSig1911
12-02-2011, 5:17 PM
Or is it materially different somehow? Plastic as far as I know is made from petroleum products that are melted and molded into shape. Magazines, holsters, and even firearms are made from it. When I see polymer products in catalogs like Midway or Brownell's, I wonder if it just sounds better and is easier to sell if they call it polymer instead of plastic.

Yeah pretty much. Though it ranges through a whole bunch of different types of plastics, also you have composite materials which can also be a fiberglass, carbon, fiber, etc.. Basically all non-metallic materials.

Freebird76
12-02-2011, 5:31 PM
Thanks for the good info. Polymer is a type of plastic. It's strong and lightweight and can do the job in many cases. You guys confirmed what I thought which is that the word "Polymer" is just more marketable to customers such as myself who might hesitate in buying a product made of plastic. But if it's "polymer" I'll more easily click straight through to checkout.

Merc1138
12-02-2011, 5:35 PM
Thanks for the good info. Polymer is a type of plastic. It's strong and lightweight and can do the job in many cases. You guys confirmed what I thought which is that the word "Polymer" is just more marketable to customers such as myself who might hesitate in buying a product made of plastic. But if it's "polymer" I'll more easily click straight through to checkout.

You've got it backwards still, plastic can be a type of polymer. Not all polymers are plastic. In the case of glocks, magpul products, stuff like that yeah, they're injection molded plastic(well, usually. There are some other ways of forming plastic into various shapes as well).

It's like calling a cow an animal, but you can't necessarily call an animal a cow.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic it gives a brief rundown of different types of plastics, their sources, uses, etc.

bohoki
12-02-2011, 5:42 PM
the term plastic was usurped by the polymer companys it used to mean formable like clay and other squishy stuff that can be molded

like plastic surgery it does not involve the use of polymers

Merc1138
12-02-2011, 5:45 PM
the term plastic was usurped by the polymer companys it used to mean formable like clay and other squishy stuff that can be molded

like plastic surgery it does not involve the use of polymers

Yes it can. Cheekbone implants, materials used to house the fluid in breast implants, stuff like that. Although you're right, that's not why it's called plastic surgery.

LoooongGun
12-02-2011, 6:00 PM
is just an easier way to say "B-52."