What are Thermosets?

Plastics are divided in two general categories, thermoplastics and thermosets.

Thermoplastics plastics or composites are plastics capable of being repeatedly softened by heat and hardened by cooling. These materials will repeatedly soften when heated and harden when cooled.

Thermosets plastics or composites are materials that will undergo or have undergone a chemical reaction through the application of heat and pressure, catalysts, ultraviolet light, etc., leading to a relatively infusible state.

Why Use Thermosets?

Thermoset molding composites are specially formulated to provide a balance of high thermal resistance, dimensional stability, chemical resistance, strength, and electrical properties.



Some of the most demanding electrical applications choose phenolic material, from switches to circuit breakers to high voltage insulators. A balance of excellent electrical properties supports this choice, including high dielectric strength, superior insulation resistance and high temperature resistance. Typical applications include: circuit breakers, switches, electrical connectors, commutators, solenoid caps, alternator slip rings, and motor and gear housings.


Thanks to their superior tolerance for heat and moisture, combined with good thermal and electrical insulating properties, phenolic composites are preferred materials for use in small appliances. Appliance applications include knobs, handles and heated components for toaster, broilers, steam irons, as well as thermostats, motor housings, and timer cases.


Reliable performance in tough conditions and high temperatures. Those characteristics have helped make phenolics a desirable material for automotive applications, where they offer performance benefits, ease of processing, and cost advantages. Thermal and dimensional stability are key design properties for the automotive industry.

Lightweight phenolics are resistant to automotive fluids and chemicals. Automotive applications include disc brake pistons, pulleys, water pump housings, solenoids, ashtrays, motor housings and transmission components.


These are some of the worldwide Phenolic and Melamine suppliers Ashton uses for our thermoset and thermoplastics processes.

Plastics Engineering (PLENCO) – Sheboygan, WI

Durez Corporation – Dallas, TX

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