explain the differences between thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics.

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The main difference between Thermoplastics and Thermosetting plastics is that Thermoplastics can be heated and shaped over and over again - Thermosetting plastics can only be heated and shaped once.

Listed below are the differences between them:



Formed by addition Polymerization.

Formed by condensation Polymerization.

Long chain linear polymers

Three dimensional network

structure joined by strong covalent


Soften on heating and stiffen on


Do not soften on heating

Can be remoulded

Cannot be remoulded

Usually soft, weak & less brittle

Usually hard, strong & more brittle


Can be reclaimed from wastes

Cannot be reclaimed from wastes

Soluble in organic solvents

Insoluble in organic solvents

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Some plastics can be bent easily while some break when forced to bend. When we add hot water to a plastic bottle, it gets deformed. Such plastic , which gets deformed easily on heating and can be bent easily are called thermoplastics.

On the other hand, there are some plastics , which when moulded once, cannot be softened by heating. These are celled thermosetting plastics.

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