Is Plastic Flammable? Plastic melting temperature chart

Plastic has become part and parcel of modern-day society. Also, it has been in existence for 100 years now. Plastic is made mainly from a polymer part of an organic compound. It is indestructible and will last forever.

It comes with different features such as easy molding capacity, lightweight, transparency, superior insulation, and impact resistance. However, plastic has pretty low thermal conductivity. And it brings us to an important question, “Is plastic flammable?”

Yes, standard plastic is flammable, and it can burn pretty quickly due to its lightness and thin design. If you are a firefighter, this is important information for you as it alerts you to quickly put off near plastics.

Nonetheless, you need to know the melting point of plastic and what happens when it gets burnt for safety precautions.

We will describe all these essential points in today’s topic.

Related: Is PVC Flammable? (Flashpoint Of PVC)

What Is Plastic?

Plastic usually refers to a wide range of semi-synthetic and synthetic materials. Its main ingredient is polymer, a type of organic compound. Polymer materials have high plasticity that enables them to mold, press easily, and even extrude.

plastic bottle

Moreover, plastic is inexpensive to produce, lightweight, easy to carry, and extremely durable. So, it has seen widespread applications worldwide.

We have mentioned that plastic is mainly made from polymer. It is a Greek word that combines “poly” (many) and “mer” (part). Thus, polymer indeed refers to multiple parts, and it is actually a long chain of molecules. The smaller molecules are known as the monomers. Several hundred monomers will make a long polymer chain to form a plastic structure.

Is Plastic Flammable?

Yes, normal plastic is highly flammable. Polymer, the main material of plastic, combines hydrogen and oxygen. Thus, the presence of hydrogen and oxygen makes plastic explosive and flammable. The flammability will depend on the ratio of oxygen and hydrogen present in the plastic.

There are several hundred types of plastics available in the market, and they have different levels of flammability.

The most common flammable plastics include polyethylene, polystyrene, polypropylene, polyester, polyvinyl chloride, etc. The flammability of plastics is measured using the Ul4 standard. It refers to its combustible rating and which part burns for how long.

So, different types of plastics have varied flammability levels, so you need to know the flammability chart of plastic. We will discuss it in the latter part of this article.

What happens if you set plastic on fire?

Plastic is highly flammable, and so it catches fire pretty quickly. But what happens when plastics start burning?

When we burn plastic, it really is a dangerous scenario. Firstly, plastics can spread their flammability to other materials speedily. So, you need to remove the materials close to bring plastic soon to save them.

Next up, burning plastic will release dangerous chemicals, gasses, and fumes into the environment. It includes dioxins, sulfur dioxide, furans, and hydrochloric acid. Burning plastic will even release harmful particulates and heavy metals.

Moreover, all these elements are harmful to human beings’ respiratory and immune systems. Also, the fumes released due to burning plastic are carcinogenic, so it can cause cancer.

So, you need to be careful when disposing of plastic by burning it.

What temp does plastic catch on fire?

There are different types of plastic. So, these plastics have different temperature levels to set fire. Also, like every material, plastic has different ignition and melting points. And it is the ignition point at which the plastic will catch on fire.

burning plastic bottle, What temp does plastic catch on fire?

For instance, the ignition point of polypropylene, polystyrene, PVC, and polyurethane is respectively, 570°, 488°-496°, 435°-557° and 416°. So, you see that the temperature required for plastics to catch fire will vary largely.

What temperature does ABS plastic melt?

ABS plastic stands for acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene. It is a type of thermoplastic and needs a pretty low cost to engineer and manufacture ABS plastic. On top of it, ABS plastic can be easily thermoformed and fabricated into another material.

However, like all plastics, ABS plastic is also flammable. So, you need to look at the letting point to use it properly. The melting point of ABS plastic is 88°-125°. It means that ABS plastic will start melting at just the boiling temperature of the water.

Plastic melting temperature chart

Usually, plastic starts melting pretty fast and ignites soon as well. However, different kinds of plastics have a specific melting temperature. You need to know about the melting point of different plastics to use and dispose of them safely.

The following chart will help you know the melting point of the plastics with ease.

Plastic nameMelting point

The chart should help you know the melting point of the plastics for quick and safe disposal of them without inconsequence. Furthermore, it is crucial because the burning fire will generate harmful gasses and fumes when it reaches melting or ignition point. So, we suggest you dispose of plastic in containers to avoid its fumes from spreading and hurting the environment.

Also, melting plastic might hurt the health of human beings. So, be aware of it.

What type of plastic is flammable?

Almost all types of plastic are flammable. The list of flammable plastic includes ABS plastic, polystyrene, polyesters, polyurethane, polyethylene, nylon, etc. However, not all plastics will start burning at the same temperature. It happens because these plastics have different ignition points.

So, you should see different plastics’ melting and ignition points to know about their flammability quickly.

Which plastic does not catch fire?

In general, plastic is highly flammable and combustible. So, there’s no plastic that won’t catch fire. But, there are ways to make plastic inflammable and fire-retardant.

Usually, these are rated fire-retardant plastics that are made inflammable using fire-retardant materials on them. Manufacturers will usually use different methods such as synergists or thermal shielding to add the fire-retardant additive on the plastics to make them inflammable.

Can melting plastic start a fire?

Yes, melting plastic can start a fire. Actually, a melting plastic will run and spread fire faster than anything else around you. Consequently, melting plastic will often mislead firefighters to know how the fire will spread.

In fact, it makes the job of firefighters highly challenging.

Final Words

Is plastic flammable? Yes, as this comprehensive guideline suggests, plastic is highly flammable. Thus, you should store plastic items securely to avoid catching fire. Also, burning plastic will release harmful gasses and fumes into the surroundings.

So, it will potentially hurt your health. Therefore, you should dispose of plastics following the industrial standard and precautions.

Finally, the melting and ignition point chart of plastics in this article will further help you use the plastics securely.