What are the Most Weather-Resistant Plastics?

Weather Resistant Plastics

Weather-resistant plastics have superior durability suited for extensive outdoor applications. These plastics have been widely adopted over the past century. The development of weather-resistant plastics has been one of the major innovations in material science, supplanting traditional materials like metal, glass, wood, and cotton. The appeal of many plastics stems from their better resistance to environmental degradation over time. The wide variety of material properties of plastics make them exceptionally adaptive for many different applications. It’s also safe for humans and is cost-effective.

What Makes Plastic “Weather-Resistant”?

With all weather-resistant plastics, coating technologies are necessary to improve or enhance their performance, such as helping to prevent weathering and oxidation. UV stabilizers such as carbon black pigments and other protective surface coatings like paint or metallization are common additives to enhance the performance capabilities of plastics outdoors. Carbon black pigmentation is cost-effective, and very effective for UV-resistance. Plus, it is eco-friendly, which serves an increasingly growing need for polymeric materials.

Thermoset Plastic Weather Resistance

The two main kinds of plastics are thermoset plastics and thermoplastics. Thermosets are a weather-resistant plastic that have superior durability all-around. They are formed by synthetic polymers and cured through a chemical cross-linking process that undergoes irreversible chemical changes. Once the molecular chains have cross-linked, the plastic object or component formed hardens and cannot be altered or reused. This makes thermosets ideally suited to high temperature and high strength industrial and commercial applications for large-scale components and parts in the construction, transportation and agricultural sectors.

Thermosets have successfully replaced other materials—such as metals—for their improved performance at a lower cost. Structurally, thermosets are lightweight and offer design flexibility. Additionally, they have dimensional stability, are impact and creep resistant, and resist high heat and corrosion. Along with these properties, the weatherability of thermosets makes the plastic an ideal choice for applications where weather-resistance is required.

Three of the Most Weather-Resistant Plastics for Industrial and Commercial Applications:


Structurally, pDCPD is a choice weather-resistant thermoset plastic with excellent material properties. In addition, its heat, corrosion, and impact resistance make it adaptable for a wide selection of applications in most environmental condition. pDCPD can be molded and manufactured easily. Its weather-resistant properties have made it ideal for components and parts in construction and agricultural equipment, buses and trucks, industrial waste containers, and various military equipment. pDCPD, however, is prone to oxidation over time, but it does not affect material performance. Generally, when pDCPD is used for outdoor machinery body parts, panels, or enclosures, OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) rely on weather-resistant paint or special coatings on pDCPD to keep a consistent look with the rest of their equipment.

Phenolic Resins

Another popular weather-resistant thermoset plastic is phenolic resins. Phenolics, or phenolic resins, are one of the more versatile polymers, as well as oldest—first produced in 1907 and originally known by the trade name Bakelite. Phenolics are a low-cost adhesive with excellent high temperature properties. The weather-resistant properties of phenolic resins are also unaffected by bio-deterioration and have superior temperature stability. Adhesives made of phenolic resins are burn and water resistant, and adhere to many different substrates. It is used as an adhesive in marine applications, automotive laminates, and in the production of exterior-grade weatherproof plywood.


Polycarbonate is another high performance, optimal weather-resistant plastic. It is made from thermoplastic polymers. As a material, polycarbonate is durable and malleable, has exceptional strength, and its properties allow it to withstand considerably high pressure and impact resistance. It has highly transparent properties that filter out ultraviolet rays, which make it ideal for greenhouses, nurseries, skylights, and optics. Transparency is also good for security applications such as glazing municipal buildings, detention centers, and embassy entries and windows. Polycarbonate is used in bus shelter glazing, barrel vaulted canopies, windshields and windows for military vehicles, and a variety of construction, agricultural, and mining equipment.

Ask an Expert About Thermoset Plastics

Elastomers vs Polymers

Elastomer vs Polymer
The primary challenge in distinguishing an elastomer vs. polymer is that elastomers are a subset of polymers. When you hear the word ‘elastomer,’ think ‘elastic,’ for the term is in fact derived from ‘elastic polymer.’ The elasticity of elastomers is a good reason why this particular polymer is often used interchangeably with the word, ‘rubber.’ Nevertheless, an elastomer is a polymer with viscoelasticity, having properties of both viscosity and elasticity.
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Osborne Joins Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association

Farm equipment manufacturers have relied on Osborne Industries, Inc., for more than 40 years to help solve their toughest plastics challenges with innovative composite solutions. From abrasion and corrosion resistant blower housings, fenders, bumpers, fan shrouds, and louvers, to agricultural equipment covers, body parts, and enclosures, Osborne has the molding technologies and engineering expertise to assist in developing and delivering complex farm equipment parts, concepts, and designs. Read more >

5 Popular Plastic Fabrication Methods

Plastic Fabrication Methods

The manufacturing of plastic parts and products is an integral part of the global economy. A variety of plastic fabrication methods are performed to manufacture components for every industrial sector—medical and pharmaceutical, aerospace, shipping and packaging, electronics and electrical, automotive, transportation, durable goods and household items, construction, heavy equipment, agriculture, and so much more.

There are many types of plastic molding and methods used in manufacturing. Which plastic fabrication method is used depends on such factors as the product or part itself, its application, its size and shape, whether it requires thermoset or thermoplastic material, or high or low volume production rates. The following five plastic fabrication methods offer examples of the different kinds of plastic molding used for different manufacturing processes. Read more >

Top 4 High Temperature Plastics

Heat Resistant Plastics

High heat resistance is one of the defining properties of high-performance plastics known as thermosets. Long touted for their light-weight and chemical-resistant properties, it is the high heat-resistance that makes the performance of thermoset plastics exceptional in demanding applications and environments.

Why Thermosets are the Best Temperature-Resistant Plastics

Bus and Vehicle Window Panels - Paint Ready PartsSeveral decades ago, the thermoplastics in use held promise as an inexpensive alternative, if not substitute, for metal, wood, or glass. Effective as the thermoplastics were, environmental factors like heat caused thermal degradation and wear. Though much lighter, the older-generation polymers could not provide the heat resistance that ceramics and metals could. Under high temperature conditions their performance was, overall, ineffective. The advance of thermoset plastics in the 1990s overcame these restraints, providing a higher degree of reliability, durability, and performance than the older polymers could. Read more >

Comparing Thermoset and Thermoplastic Pricing

Thermoplastic Pricing

Regarding the manufacturing costs of plastic parts, it is often noted that thermoplastic prices are lower than thermoset plastics. While this may be true to a certain degree, thermoplastics offer limited advantages when compared to their thermoset plastic counterparts. Upfront tooling costs, part strength and performance, and even appearance play an important part in determining which materials to choose, and although cost is a factor, it’s not the only one to take into account when determining which process to utilize. When it comes to material costs, without a doubt there are some key advantages to consider in using one type of plastic over the other. Upfront costs for thermoset materials are generally greater than thermoplastic, and the process takes longer to complete. Thermoplastic has the potential for rapid, high-volume production if needed. However, there are still limits to this advantage, and it’s more than just in the material costs, production time, or the many applications of either thermosetting plastics or thermoplastics. So, let’s look at the factors of thermoplastic and thermoset plastic manufacturing and some of their associated costs. Read more >

How Thermoset Plastics are Made & Manufactured

Thermoset Manufacturing Process


Thermoset plastic is a synthetic polymer known for its resilience, strength and durability. It is how thermoset plastics are made and manufactured that make it an ideal material for a variety of applications across many industries. Automotive, aerospace, construction, medical, military, agriculture, and corrosion control are all such industries that utilize parts made with thermoset plastic. Read more >

Choosing Between Gel Coat vs Paint

Gel Coat vs Paint

The usefulness of gel coating vs. paint for thermoset plastic parts is relative to the applications, needs, and requirements of the specific part. Gel coating is ideal and cost-effective for products produced via Resin Transfer Molding, because throughput is reduced when compared to a secondary painting process. However, if a part requires multiple colors or has a texture requirement, painting is a better alternative to gel coating. There are pros and cons to each. Here are a few for consideration. Read more >

What’s the Difference Between Monomers & Polymers?

Monomer vs Polymer

In the world of material sciences and plastics, the difference between monomer vs polymer is often confused, if not confusing. Because the terms relate to plastic, they are seen in the broader, wider range of malleable synthetic or semi-synthetic organic compounds that are molded into solid objects. Nevertheless, synthetic monomers and polymers played a significant role in the history of plastics, revolutionizing material sciences in the early twentieth century and consequently emerging to play a prominent role in the modern industrial economy. The ability of chemists to engineer synthetic molecules to achieve a desired set of properties such as electrical conductivity, heat resistance, impact resistance, strength, stiffness, and density changed the world. Read more >

The Top 3 Creep-Resistant Plastics

Creep Resistant Plastics


Creep resistant plastics are an important consideration in the design and application of any plastic molding. You want to choose a material that has all the best characteristics for your intended application! Read more >