ABS Plastic

ABS Plastic Overview

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a common thermoplastic made by polymerizing acrylonitrile and styrene in the presence of polybutadiene. Proportions of the component polymers vary from 15-35% acrylonitrile, 5-30% butadiene, and 40-60% Styrene. This mixture results in a material with the strength and rigidity of the acrylonitrile and styrene polymers, and the toughness of the polybutadiene polymer. ABS is available in a wide selection of colors and is most desirable for its impact resistance and toughness. It can be injection molded with ease, making it a common material choice for numerous applications. Some trade names for ABS are CYCOLAC™ and SANTAC™. Laser cutting and engraving can be done using a CO2 laser. Laser marking of white ABS is possible with a fiber laser. Special additives in the ABS plastic react to the 1.06 micron wavelength of the fiber laser to create a black surface mark.

ABS Disclaimer:

Laser processing ABS can release a range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as acrylonitrile, butadiene, benzene, acrolein, and formaldehyde some of which are regulated in the workplace through OSHA permissible exposure limits (PEL). Concentrations of these VOCs during laser material processing will depend on a variety of factors such as material removal rate, effectiveness of ventilation used to exhaust effluent generated and outgassing of the material after processing while being stored and handled.

ULS recommends consulting with workplace safety experts on safe processing and handling of ABS before employing a laser system to process ABS.

Applicable Laser Processes for ABS Plastic

Laser Cutting
Laser Marking
Laser Engraving