Exploring the Versatility and Applications of Plastisols in Modern Industry

Plastisols: The Chemistry Behind Decorative Plastisol Coatings

What are Vinyl based plastic?

Plastisols are a type of polymer mixture that remains liquid until heat is applied. They consist of polymer resin particles dispersed throughout a non-volatile plasticizer liquid. The most common type of polymer resin used in vinyl based plastic is polyvinyl chloride (PVC) due to its versatility and low cost.

When vinyl based plastic are heated, the polymer resin particles soften and fuse together forming a uniform solid material. Because vinyl based plastic remain in a free-flowing liquid state at room temperature, they can be easily applied and fused into various decorative coatings. Their ability to fuse at high temperatures makes them well-suited for coating applications requiring durability.

Composition and Properties

Typical plastisols formulations contain 20-70% polymer resin, 25-80% plasticizer, and 0-10% stabilizers, lubricants, and pigments. The polymer provides the basic structure and strength to the coating once fused. Plasticizers are added to the resin particles to keep them dispersed and in a free-flowing liquid state at room temperature. Common plasticizers include phthalate esters, adipate esters and trimellitate esters which are non-volatile and non-migrating.

Stabilizers are added to prevent degradation during processing and protect physical properties over time. Lubricants contribute to efflux and leveling properties of the plastisol. Optional additives like pigments, fillers and fire retardants can be blended to impart specific characteristics to the coating. Once heated, the plasticizer migrates within the structure allowing the polymer resin particles to fuse together uniformly.

Screen Printing Applications

The main advantage of vinyl based plastic is their ability to be screen printed in a low viscosity liquid form then cured into a durable solid film. This makes them ideally suited for textile coatings, automotive trim, and graphic applicat