5 Popular Types of Plastic for Mining Applications

Equipment in the mining industry has to stand up to harsh conditions and plenty of wear and tear. As such, it has to be constructed with high-quality materials that are up to the challenge, otherwise mining companies face major expenses for repairs and lost profit from downtime. To avoid these costs as much as possible, many manufacturers turn to plastic for mining equipment and other applications. But only certain types of plastic materials are up for the job.

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Acrylic plastic sheeting is known for its glass-like clarity and great impact resistance. Manufacturers often use this plastic for mining applications like safety windows and windshields in tractors, trucks and excavators. Acrylic (PMMA) provides operators a clear view of their surroundings while also protecting them from falling debris or other hazards that would be able to easily punch through regular glass.


HDPE plastic sheeting is one of the most versatile, malleable and eco-friendly plastics on the market, used in familiar applications like hard hats and water bottles. On top of safety equipment, manufacturers use HDPE plastic for mining waste pipes and fittings to transfer waste materials away from work sites. HDPE is popular for piping applications because of its resistance to chemicals and abrasion, which prevents it from corroding, breaking or rusting like traditional metal pipes. Because the pipes and fittings are often fused together, HDPE piping systems are also leak-free.


Similar to acrylic, polycarbonate plastic sheets can be used as heavy equipment glazing to reinforce the windows and windshields of mining vehicles. Polycarbonate can be 250 times stronger than glass, so it protects against rocks and debris exceptionally well while still providing crystal clear visibility. It's also heat-resistant and a great insulator, so it can protect vehicle operators from high noise levels and extreme temperatures (up to 240° F).


Along with HDPE, many types of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are used in piping systems for waste transfer and air reticulation. PVC is popularly utilized in slurry lines because of its high abrasion resistance and flexibility, which allows it to transfer waste materials without breaking down or leaking. Aside from piping, PVC is also often used for wire and cable insulation, protecting electronic components from changing temperatures, dampness and other tough conditions.


Strong, versatile, wear-resistant, impact resistant, lightweight, durable: these are all characteristics of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE) that make it so desirable as a plastic for mining applications. UHMW-PE is often used in sheaves, gears and other components that need to be extra resistant to daily wear and tear. Additionally, UHMW-PE has a low coefficient of friction, making it ideal for applications like conveyor belts and outrigger pads that can't afford to have machines, materials and people slipping around.

Recap: The Most Popular Types of Plastic for Mining


Learn More About Plastic for Mining at A&C Plastics

We've barely scraped the surface of all the ways plastic for mining can improve the safety and durability of systems and equipment on hazardous job sites. Check out the rest of our resources or contact us today to learn more about how A&C Plastics can make your next project a success.

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