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What Is Opaque Plastic?

Updated April 17, 2017

Opaque plastics are plastics that block all light from passing through them. Some plastics are opaque by virtue of their structure. Other plastics are transparent but can be dyed or treated to become opaque.

Features

Plastics are generally defined as synthetic or semi-synthetic substances that can be moulded into various shapes, extruded or rolled into fibres and films or used in making lacquers, paints, varnishes and other coatings. They are typically made from oil derivatives, although new technology allows the use of organic matter to produce plastics. Opaque is the term given to materials that do not allow the passage of light through them, as opposed to translucent plastics, which allow some light through and transparent plastics, which allow all light through.

Types

Examples of opaque plastics include PEEKā„¢ (Polyaryletheretherketone), a very strong plastic used to replace some metal parts, Polyphenylene Sulphide PPS, a heat-resistant plastic and Polypropylene PP, which is used in a range of household and medical applications.

Fun Fact

One of the earliest forms of opaque plastic, casein plastic, was derived from milk. It was used to make artificial jade, horn and other materials for jewellery and buttons. You can even make your own casein plastic at home using milk and vinegar.

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About the Author

Clare Edwards has been providing Internet content since 1998. She has written and translated for a variety of markets: everything from technical articles to short fiction and essays on alternative spirituality. She holds a certificate of higher education in electronics and audio arts from Middlesex University.