Plastic products are everywhere—in our homes, our cars, our workplaces, and where we have fun. Resin manufacturers have developed whole ranges of polymers with ever increasing performance and/or economy which have helped plastics replace more traditional materials such as wood, metal and glass.
Minerals in Plastics: Functions
Minerals such as talc, calcium carbonates and barytes, are often used in these plastic products. These minerals can provide functionalities, increasing the performance of the resin, adding impact strength, flexural modulus (stiffness), faster molding cycles, dimensional stability with less warpage, sound deadening, surface finish, sandability, and thickening. These minerals are also used as cost-reducing fillers by extending or replacing the more expensive resins and making the finished products more affordable for the consumer.
Different minerals play different functions in plastics, so the decision of which mineral to use in a new plastic product depends on which performance enhancements are required.
To read more about the uses for a particular mineral in plastics, click on the mineral’s name in the table above. On this Specialty Minerals Inc. (SMI) web site, there are pages that give a general introduction to the fundamentals of some of these important mineral functions: antiblocking, impact strength, stiffness/flexural modulus and polymer nucleation. Click on the "Y" symbol in the last column to go to one of these fundamentals pages.
Minerals in Plastics: Resin Types
Some minerals are more commonly used in a given polymer system than others—based on performance, cost, and compatibility. This table indicates which minerals are typically used for their functionalities and which are used as cost-reducing fillers or extenders.
Again, to read more about the uses for a particular mineral in plastics, click on the mineral’s name in the table above. To read more about the kinds of minerals used in particular polymer types, click on the resin system name.
Specialty Minerals Products for Plastics
SMI offers a variety of mineral products for the plastics industry to enhance the performance of plastic products and composites:
- Precipitated Calcium Carbonate (PCC) products including ultrafine particles in the nano range, are highly functional additives that provide superior impact strength in rigid or unplasticized PVC resin systems. Their uses include window profiles, fencing, siding, thermoforming, calendared stock and foamed PVC. They are also useful as thickening and gloss-producing minerals in unsaturated polyesters.
- Antiblock Talcs are used in polyolefin and other film applications where the talc and talc-based antiblocks confer excellent anti-blocking with low haze and high clarity.
- Reinforcing Talcs are fine and ultrafine talcs used in reinforced polyolefins, thermoplastic olefins (TPOs), and engineering resins for superior stiffness (flexural modulus).
- Ground Calcium Carbonates (GCCs) and Ground Dolomites offer resin extension and economy.
- Barytes also called barites, are used for sound deadening applications and vibration control.
Use one of the links below to read more about particular polymer systems and how to use Specialty Minerals products to improve performance and cost. You can also read about specific SMI minerals for your applications, some basic information about minerals that SMI manufactures, and the performance functions these minerals play in plastic products. There are also links for pages with information about SMI exhibitions or papers on plastics. You may download publications, data sheets, and MSDS, and read more about Specialty Minerals.
- Specialty Minerals minerals for engineering resins
- SMI minerals for flexible PVC
- SMI minerals for polyolefin films
- SMI minerals for reinforced polyolefins and thermoplastic olefin (TPO)
- SMI talcs for rigid PVC
- SMI minerals for unsaturated polyesters
- SMI minerals for wood polymer composites (WPC)
- Barytes in plastics uses
- Ground calcium carbonate (GCC) in plastics uses
- Precipitated Calcium Carbonate (PCC) in plastics uses
- Talc in plastics uses
- Antiblock Fundamentals
- Impact Fundamentals
- Nucleation Fundamentals
- Stiffness - Flexural modulus Fundamentals
- SMI minerals in automotive products- See the parts of your car that are made with Specialty Minerals products.
- SMI minerals in housing- See the places Specialty Minerals products are used around your house.
- Download technical data sheets for SMI products
- Request a sample
- What is Barytes / Barite? A mineral introductory webpage.
- What is Dolomite? A mineral introductory webpage.
- What is Ground Calcium Carbonate (GCC)/Limestone? A mineral introductory webpage.
- What is Precipitated Calcium Carbonate? A mineral introductory webpage.
- What is Talc? A mineral introductory webpage.
- About Specialty Minerals Inc.
- Specialty Minerals plant locations and profiles
- Quality and ISO at Specialty Minerals
- Plastics Exhibitions. Where we are participating and where you can talk to Specialty Minerals staff about your formulations.
- SMI Plastics Publications: General and Impact Downloadable papers on fillers in plastics, and Precipitated Calcium Carbonates (PCCs) and talcs in plastic applications
- SMI Plastics Publications: Reinforcement. Downloadable papers on talcs in plastic applications.
- SMI Plastics Publications: Antiblock talcs. Downloadable papers on Specialty Minerals antiblock talcs.
- Useful plastics websites