Whether it be for a university/college miscellaneous project, as a necessity in some mechanical part, or even for any general use apart from the engineering applications, the requirements of plastic sheets have witnessed a drastic demand from the late 1990s. As humanity has progressed and developed new erudite technologies and gizmos to suit our needs, plastics have also undergone several transformations in their types to best suit our many faced wants. And out of these varieties plastic sheets, especially the cheaper ones are on a constant rise in the market due to their relatively hassle-free availability and minimal affording nature. Read more about What is the cheapest plastic sheet?
While looking for the cheapest plastic sheets, one can opt to choose from the ideal options- Styrene or PETG.
- Styrene is considered as the desired material to look for if you wish to keep the cost as minimum as possible. These sheets (also called HIPS Sheet) are engineered from polystyrene resins and are low-cost, odorless, chemically resistant, and non-toxic sheets of plastics that come in handy for practices such as lithographing, latex, rubber making, prototypes, toys packaging, and cup manufacturing. They’re easily available in various thicknesses, dimensions, and cut sizes at local stores and online shopping websites.
- Another sheet that fits our criteria for the cheapest available plastic sheet is PETG. It is a clear and transparent sheet prepared using thermoplastic polyesters. Due to their durability, food compatibility, and soft texture, they are more promoted and well-preferred over other affordable plastic sheets like Acrylic or Polycarbonate. PETG can be fashioned into many versatile products such as cooking oil containers, reusable drinking bottles, medical implants, and food storing packets, giving them an upper edge for purchasing preference. They can be readily ordered and bought from various online websites and enterprise shops around you.
- You can also pick Sintra (Sentra) plastic sheets (or Sintra PVC) that come in the form of Sintra Plastic Boards. Made out of moderately expanded closed-cell polyvinyl chloride (PVC) substance, it is a malleable yet rigid and lightweight material with a low gloss matte finish. Apart from being cheap and available in abundance, they come off as durable and moldable in any imaginable shape (using wood and foam board fabrication technique). These sheets are used in advertising, photo-mounting screen printing, and to fulfill many outdoor purposes. You can find these homogenous board sheets in any hardware shop and on online shopping sites at inexpensive rates.
Polypropylene Sheets: A close look at its quality.
Polypropylene (PP) is a thermoplastic polymer like PETG and is the second most widely used and produced commodity after polyethylene. Despite its known chemical resistance, cheap price, and extremely useful welding nature, its material isn’t considered very well for working on projects or personal technical requisites. One can choose PP while looking for cheap plastic sheets but they may not come as handy to use in the long run due to their material nature and texture.
Other options to look for: Clear Acrylic and PE.
- Plastic sheets like acrylic are very cheap, possess rigidity, and have extreme clearness that makes them a good choice. Their all-purpose nature makes them handy and the next best product after PETG or Styrene.
- Apart from PP, PE (Polyethylene) the most produced plastic commodity is another one of the cheap plastic sheets made available in the market. They are soft, stretchable, and scratch-free, and gouge easy, thus making them fit to use when our main concern is low price.
While looking for the cheapest plastic, Styrene or PET-G/PETG are the ultimate choices due to their versatility apart from their cheap economic rates with Sintra/Sentra coming to a close second. While Polypropylene (PP) may not be the best material, one can also make use of it when a low price is prioritized over material and quality. And some of the other reliable choices are Clear Acrylic and Polyethylene (PE) that are readily available and easy to use as well when compared to PP sheets.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are PET and PETG the same?
Ans. Though they look similar both of these plastics are different materials on the molecular level. While PET has two monomers combined, PETG has added Glycol as well (Monomer 1 + Monomer 2 = PET + Glycol = PETG), giving it altered chemical properties from PET (like better tensile features and durability).
- Which is better- Acrylic or Polycarbonate Sheets?
Ans. While Acrylic and Polycarbonate are often compared due to their similar appearance, they are very different materials and both have their pros and cons. While Acrylic is shinier and less expensive. Polycarbonate is stronger and more resistant to heat. But in terms of price, Acrylic is the better choice of the two due to its cheaper price (Acrylic sheets are usually 38 times low-priced than Polycarbonate sheets).