One of the major utilities of polypropylene is the fact that it can be made into a living hinge. A living hinge is a thin piece of material that can bend without breaking. Hinges are used in structural applications such as allowing doors and windows to open and close. These are heavyweight applications that use hinges made of steel and metal. But, there are other ways in which living hinges can be used in domestic applications like a lid on a bottle or a small mint box. In such applications, polypropylene can be used as a living hinge because it will not break even after repetitive bending.
The chemical properties of polypropylene are such that polypropylene does not react with diluted bases and acids, which are often found in liquids, first-aid products, and cleaning agents. This makes polypropylene an ideal material to manufacture containers for such liquids.
Polypropylene is a bad conductor of electricity and is classified as an insulator. That makes it a great material for manufacturing certain electronic components such as polypropylene capacitors and audio equipment. Electric cables also use polypropylene for insulation.
Polypropylene is desirable because of the way it responds to heat. Polypropylene will turn to liquid when it reaches its melting point. The liquid can then be molded into any desired shape. Injection molding uses polypropylene due to the way it responds to heat. It is also worth noting that polypropylene can be heated, liquefied, cooled, and then reheated again without any significant degradation.
Polypropylene has a high resistance to corrosion and chemical leaching. Hence, it is the material of choice for manufacturing piping systems. It has good resistance to freezing as well, so climatic conditions are not an issue when pipes are made using polypropylene.
Polypropylene can withstand heat in a pressure chamber or autoclave. Hence, it is a great material to make laboratory and other medical containers. It is even used to make food containers because it can withstand the heat in a dishwasher.
Polypropylene has high tensile strength and can withstand up to 4800 psi. That makes it a useful material in applications involving heavy loads and rugged use.
Polypropylene is highly impermeable material. It will absorb less than 0.01% of water when soaked in it for 24 hours. This makes it an ideal material for products which are to be submerged in liquids. Polypropylene is used in water-proofing of roofs as well. On the flip side, polypropylene can be treated with certain chemicals to make it absorb water. In such cases, it can be used for making things like sanitary napkins and diapers.
Polypropylene can be turned into a fibre form, which can allow for the making of mesh-like surfaces. Such surfaces are great for manufacturing filters used in water purification systems and air-conditioning systems.
Polypropylene has a low density as compared to other plastic materials. Hence, it gives manufacturers the benefit of cost savings from the low weight.