Thermosetting Plastic Definition

January 1, 2020

A thermosetting plastic is a polymer that irreversibly becomes rigid when heated. Such a material is also known as a thermoset or thermosetting polymer. Initially, the polymer is a liquid or soft solid. Heat provides energy for chemical reactions that increase the cross-linking between polymer chains, curing the plastic. The rate of curing may be increasing in many cases by increasing pressure or by adding a catalyst.


Many common plastics are thermosets. They include:

  • Vulcanized rubber
  • Fiberglass (a fiber-reinforced polymer composite)
  • Polyester resin
  • Polyurethane
  • Melamine
  • Bakelite
  • Silicone resin
  • Epoxy resin

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