Thermoplastic and thermosetting plastics are both types of polymer materials, but they have some key differences in their properties and behavior when exposed to heat.
Thermoplastic materials are plastics that can be melted and reshaped multiple times without changing their chemical properties. When they are heated, they become pliable and can be molded into different shapes. When cooled, they solidify and retain their new shape. Examples of thermoplastic materials include polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
On the other hand, thermosetting plastics are plastics that cannot be remelted or reshaped once they have been molded. These materials are composed of a network of crosslinked polymer molecules. When they are heated and molded, the heat causes the polymer molecules to crosslink and form a rigid, three-dimensional network. This process is irreversible, meaning that once the material cools and solidifies, it cannot be remolded or reshaped. Examples of thermosetting plastics include phenolic, epoxy and polyurethane.
In summary, the main difference between thermoplastic and thermosetting plastics is that thermoplastics can be melted and reshaped multiple times, while thermosetting plastics can be molded only once and cannot be reshaped or remelted. Thermoplastic materials are widely used in packaging, consumer goods and automotive, while thermosetting are used in applications that require high strength, temperature resistance and electrical insulation.