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Difference between Thermoplastic and Thermosetting plastic

Last updated date: 24th Jul 2024
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Thermoplastic and Thermosetting plastic

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Thermoplastic                                Thermosetting plastic 

Plastics are synthetic polymers of carbon and other elements with high molecular mass. Plastics are malleable and can be converted into solid objects also. Plastics are widely used in almost each and every field such as medical, construction, toy industry even in textile industry. Plastics can be mainly classified into – Thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics. 

What is thermoplastic?

Thermoplastic polymer is a type of plastic. Thermoplastics are those plastics which can be moulded again and again by use of heat. Example of thermoplastics are polyethene, polystyrene and PVC (polyvinylchloride). Thermoplastic polymers are used in making carry bags, bottles etc. 

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What is thermosetting plastic? 

Thermosetting plastic are those plastic polymers which cannot be moulded again and again by use of heat. These are also known as thermoset polymers. Examples of thermosetting plastic are Bakelite, melamine etc. Thermosetting plastics are used in making handles of utensils, switches and fire resistant fabric etc. 

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Difference between thermoplastic and thermosetting plastic– 



Thermosetting plastic


Plastics which can be moulded into different shapes easily by heat are known as thermoplastics.  

Plastics which cannot be moulded into different shapes again after moulding once are known as thermosetting plastics. 


It is generally synthesized by addition polymerization.

It is generally synthesized by condensation polymerization. 


In thermoplastics such as polythene, polymer chains have no cross linking and generaly linear. 

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In thermosetting plastics such as bakelite has cross links in polymer chains. 

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It has low melting point, brittleness and tensile strength than thermoplastics. 

It has higher melting point, brittleness and tensile strength than thermosetting plastics. 


It has lower molecular weight than thermosetting plastics.

It has higher molecular weight than thermoplastic. 


On applying high pressure, thermoplastics change their shape and become soft. 

On applying high pressure, thermosetting plastics generally break down.


It is used in making plastic bottles, jars, combs etc. 

It is used in making electric switches, floor tiles, fire resistant fabrics, in vulcanization of rubber etc. 


Polystyrene, Teflon, PVC, polythene are thermoplastics.

Bakelite, melamine are thermosetting plastics. 


Thermoplastics are generally recyclable. 

Thermosetting plastics are generally non-recyclable.