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Acrylonitrile Butadiene (ABS) plastic is used in numerous products, such as Legos®, whitewater canoes, tattoo inks, and is commonly used as filament in 3D printing to create 3D objects. ABS plastic becomes soft and moldable when heated and becomes solid when cooled.

How Acrylonitrile Butadiene (ABS) Plastic Works

ABS plastic is a thermoplastic, which means that it is pliable above a certain temperature and returns to solid form when cooled. Nitrile chains bind together, which makes ABS plastic stronger than pure polystyrene. Styrene gives ABS a shiny surface and butadiene provides resilience.

ABS Plastic in 3D Printing

ABS plastic filament is used for 3D printing. The filament is loaded onto the spool of a 3D printer, which is then extruded through a heated nozzle. The nozzle prints out the 3D object one layer at a time. A heated bed keeps the plastic warm and evens the cooling process to prevent the plastic from curling up and warping the part. Once the layers have been printed, the part is complete.