Does acetone dissolve plastic?

Acetone and polystyrene

The urgency is that I have some rigid plastic panels from a photocopier, which seem to me very good, but now I have neither time nor place to experiment, and I’m about to throw them away, unless I can liquefy them with solvent.

I have done a couple of similar things but dissolving the plastics (in my case of the thermoformable type) with cyclohexanone and in other cases with ABS, where I work they had bought it in a chemist without any problem. in both cases you can leave a very liquid plastic and in a couple of hours it becomes rigid again.

The best solvent for plastics is Tetrahydrofuran (THF) which can even dissolve epoxy resins, but be careful because it is a bit explosive to evaporate it, just do it at a constant temperature (80°C).

I ask those who worked with this, after using any of the mentioned solvents, work the part and make it solid, does it have the same properties as the original part (mechanical strength, stiffness, etc)? or at least similar?

Why acetone dissolves polystyrene

Expanded polystyrene contains a type of dioxin that is toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, affect the immune system, interfere with hormones and cause cancer in humans.

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It is actually a simple dissolution. Expanded polystyrene is a foam that contains a large amount of gas causing it to increase in volume. When we mix it with pure acetone, the gas is released and the “blob” we are left with is simply unexpanded polystyrene.

Cover the plastic with acetone. Pour the acetone until the plastic is covered and see if it melts immediately. If it doesn’t, pour a little more acetone on the plastic and stir the mixture until it melts the way you want it to.

Leave the container baking for about 4 minutes and then gradually increase the heat. You can do this at 4ºC intervals until you see that it is completely melted. After the time has passed and it is well melted, remove the metal container without burning yourself. Then prepare a mold to shape the plastic.

Gasoline dissolves plastic

Any analysis of a plastic begins with preliminary tests. In addition to observing characteristics such as solubility, density, softening and melting behavior, heating in a combustion tube (pyrolysis test) and in a flame (flame test) is very important.

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Due to the high molecular weight of the polymers it is necessary to chop the sample as finely as possible. If the sample is difficult to cut, it can be frozen with carbonic snow or liquid nitrogen, which will make it glassy, more brittle and easier to cut.

Among the numerous plastic solvents, the most widely used are benzene, tetrahydrofuran, dimethylformamide, diethylether, acetone and formic acid. In certain cases, chloroethylene, ethyl acetate, ethanol, methanol, toluene, hydrocarbons and even acids or bases are often used.

Nylon has a high breaking strength, high elasticity and low density. It melts at temperatures of around 260 ºC and softens at 180 ºC. By condensation polymerization, a filamentous, whitish paste is obtained, which becomes elastic and resistant when cooled. It burns smoothly and melts. It is quite stable against chemical agents.

Acetone burnt plastic

Most acetone-containing nail polish removers contain a reduced amount of acetone… more oils, glycerin and a thousand stories… it will work? probably yes, but it will leave residues and the amount to use will be much higher… if you need acetone, use acetone… it can be expensive, but it is more expensive to repair a bad job done.

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To clarify that, I do not know in other countries… but here the isopropyl, although it is sold in some pharmacies… it is not the one commonly considered pharmacy alcohol (for wounds) which is ethanol, the isopropyl is 2-propanol and has more applications outside the pharmacy than inside, you can get it in electronics or photography stores, even drugstores and, at least here, infinitely cheaper than in the pharmacy (we are talking about 10% of the price).