Designing with Plastics

This issue of
Designing with Plastics
has been brought to you by:


An ePublication of the International Association of Plastics Distribution

July 2009 | Focus: Natural Disasters

To ensure you receive this complimentary
newsletter every month,
Subscribe Now!

Free Plastics Education from IAPD

Register now for an upcoming free IAPD web seminar at

Why Plastics?
Friday, August 21, 2009, 10 a.m. CDT
Learn why and when plastics are the best choice for your application in this informative web seminar. Learn more about the unique properties plastics have and why plastic materials hold significant advantages for a variety of markets.

When Plastics are the Better Choice: Converting Metal Applications to Plastics
Friday, September 18, 2009, 10 a.m. CDT
Hear an overall comparison between plastics and metals, learning the advantages of plastics, as well as the materials' limitations. The web seminar will help you understand when plastics make a better choice over other materials for your applications, and when they don’t.

In This Issue:
Hurricane protection for your home
Polycarbonate systems have distinct advantages over many other hurricane protection systems.  

Home buyers and builders benefit from composite-based storm shelters
Composite material is strong enough to meet stringent storm shelter guidelines, yet is easy to fabricate on-site with common tools.

UHMW-PE-lined trucks help clean-up Katrina’s destruction
Smaller trucks meant each truck’s efficiency must be the best possible.

Test your knowledge
What do you know about plastic materials used in medical applications?

Online plastic resources
IAPD offers many online search resources at and, including distributor, processor, trade name and fabrication capability searches.

Find an IAPD Plastics Distributor or Processor

Search for Suppliers by Trade Name or Material and Shape

Search for Plastics Fabrication Capabilities

Search Other Plastics Articles Published by IAPD

View Past Issues of Designing with Plastics

About IAPD
The International Association of Plastics Distribution, founded in 1956, is an international trade association comprised of companies engaged in the distribution and manufacture of plastics materials.

Members include plastics distributors, processors, manufacturers, resin manufacturers, manufacturers’ representatives and associated products and services, all of whom are dedicated to the distribution channel.



Hurricane protection for your home


High performance thermoplastics extruded by Westlake Plastics Company.

Exterior view of Polygal® Stormguard Florida-approved hurricane system made from high impact 16 mm storm grade (SG) polycarbonate sheet.

Today, more than 35 million Americans live in the regions most threatened by Atlantic hurricanes. The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season was a very active one, and was the third most costly on record.

The insurance industry is driving change to the consumer concerning hurricane protection. For example, today in Florida, homeowners who want insurance, must show that they have a Florida-approved hurricane protection system for their home. Polycarbonate systems meet that criteria and have distinct advantages over many other hurricane protection systems. Polycarbonate systems allow natural light into the dwelling, provide high impact protection, are light weight and easy to install by the homeowner, and are at an installed price point acceptable to the average consumer.

Most polycarbonate systems are available to OEMs and installers through local plastics distributors. The do-it-yourself (DIY) homeowner can also purchase these systems through their local plastics distributor. Those DIY homeowners who choose to purchase through their local plastics distributor will probably pay more than an OEM or installer, but they will save on labor costs to install. Many installers charge from $12 to $15 per square foot installed for a mid-range polycarbonate system during the normal course of business. However, if a hurricane is imminent, installed costs can jump to $22 or more per square foot installed. Read more

This article was written by Ward Ogle, Polygal® Inc.

Home buyers and builders benefit from composite-based storm shelters


Located inside a house, the StormBlocker™ shelter is a small room specially constructed to provide a safe haven during wind storms that can severely damage or even destroy the rest of the house.

Storm shelters of various designs protect homeowners and their families from tornados and hurricanes. Underground shelters are the most common, but these can be hard to enter and difficult (if not impossible) to install in some areas. So in places often hit by destructive wind storms, more and more people are turning to an equally effective but less troublesome option: aboveground shelters. Installed in new homes as part of the floor plan, many builders prefer the features and benefits offered by a new storm shelter system featuring panels made of fiberglass-based thermoset composite material that is strong enough to meet stringent storm shelter guidelines.

Unlike shelters that rely on concrete and steel, the wall sheathing of the composite-based system is relatively thin and easy to cut to the exact size. What is more, the composite-based system can be fabricated using common construction tools, eliminating the need for special equipment and subcontractors that boost the cost of other aboveground shelters.

Yet, they do not sacrifice strength. In testing at the Texas Tech Wind Science and Engineering Research Center, the shelter was not damaged by 15 lb. two-by-fours striking the outer walls at 100-mph. And at the Clemson University Wind Load Test Facility, the shelter held up to 250-mph panel-suction forces and wind shear. A key to the strength of the composite-based system is the wall sheathing material, consisting of a woven glass substrate treated with phenolic resin and pressed into a hard sheet measuring 4' x 8' and weighing about 80 lbs. Though they are extremely strong, the thermoset sheets are just 5/16'' thick. Read more.

This article was written by Alan Johnson, Norplex-Micarta, and Mark Latham, Omnitek Products, Inc.

UHMW-PE-lined trucks help clean-up Katrina’s destruction


The sophisticated mechanism of the MDPI Novolizer® powder inhaler from Asta Medica (now Sofotec GmbH, a subsidiary of Zentaris AG) relies on functional parts made of Hostaform® (POM) type C 9021 TF natural and Celanex® (PBT) type 2002-2 green from Ticona.

Quadrant’s Quicksilver® high performance truck liners are designed to clean-out and clean-up some of the toughest materials in the very worst conditions. Its range of materials and expertise in installation allow liners that will fit most style trucks, trailers or pup beds.

The Gulf Coast is no stranger to natural disasters and the clean-up that follows. Every hurricane that comes ashore leaves a path of destruction that must be cleaned up and hauled away before rebuilding can begin. Katrina, a category three storm, left much destruction, but the devastating blow was a breach in levees. This breach allowed Lake Pontchartrain to flood much of the city of New Orleans, sweeping most of the mud and rock used to build the levee system into the city.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers was faced with the challenge of removing an enormous amount of flood water debris before they could even attempt to rebuild the broken levees. Expert help was needed to expedite the clean-up. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers called upon the truck specialty distributor who helped orchestrate the clean-up following the Florida hurricanes. Many of the trucks used relied on a special formulation of half-inch thick brand of UHMW-PE liners in their over-the-road trailers, ensuring that even the stickiest mud and silt would empty out fast and clean. This premium product also protected their truck beds from damage by over-sized rocks, concrete and other debris. UHMW-PE-lined trucks proved more efficient as they dumped cleaner and quicker with every single load. Less time spent cleaning out carry-back from truck beds meant more loads per day, translating to faster clean-up from the devastation. Read more.

This article was written by Quadrant Engineering Plastic Products.

Test your knowledge

What do you know about plastic materials used in medical applications? (Answers are at

1. UHMW-PE falls into what category of plastics?

a. polyethersulfones
b. polyamides
c. polyolefins
d. cellulosics

2. Polycarbonate is generally unaffected by which of the following?

a. esters
b. ketones
c. aromatic solvents
d. greases

Online plastic resources

Your IAPD distributor is your choice in finding the right material for your application. Go to to find a distributor in your area. You can search by company name, location or product category.

The IAPD Magazine web site at allows you to search by material, trade name and fabrication process. You can also search for fabrication capabilities.


© 2009

International Association of Plastics Distribution
6734 W. 121st Street
Overland Park, KS 66209 USA |
Phone: +913.345.1005 | Fax: +913.345.1006

Designing with Plastics is published by the International Association of Plastics Distribution. While every effort has been made for accuracy, IAPD encourages you to verify information with a plastics distributor to ensure you select the correct plastic products to meet your needs.