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Thermoplastic Identification Methods for Welding Rods

The first step in creating a successful weld, is determining which plastic you are dealing with. In most instances, only "like" products can be welded together successfully. There are two simple processes to achieve this.

Perform a short test weld. If the welding rod stays firmly affixed to the base material after it is thoroughly cooled, you have a successful material match.

Perform a burn test. Take a small piece of the plastic to be welded and expose it to an open flame such as a match, lighter or small torch. Use extreme caution as the melted plastic is very hot. Follow descriptions below to determine which characteristics your material exhibits.

  • PVDF - Polyvinylidene Fluoride. Produces an acrid odor and will burn to a black ash. Flame will self-extinguish.
  • TPUR - Polyurethane. Produces a yellow flame, slight black smoke and a faint apple-like odor. Flame will not self-extinguish.
  • ABS - Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. Produces a black smoke, soot flakes and an acrid smell. Flame will not self-extinguish.
  • PVC - Polyvinyl Chloride. Produces a black medium smoke and an acrid smell. Flame will self-extinguish.
  • PE - Polyethylene. Produces no smoke. Material drips like a candle and smells of wax. Flame will not self-extinguish.
  • PP - Polypropylene. Produces no smoke. Material drips like a candle and smells of burnt oil. Flame will not self-extinguish.
  • PC - Polycarbonate. Produces a yellowish sooty smoke and smells sweet. The flame will self-extinguish.
  • PS - Polystyrene. Produces a yellow flame, sooty smoke and smells of illuminating gas. Material drips. Flame will not self-extinguish.
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