The marine market relies on performance plastics that have the durability and longevity to endure various exterior and interior applications. Many of a boat's most important components are made of plastics that can withstand prolonged exposure to moisture and water. While plywood, metal, laminates, and other materials are commonplace in the marine industry, marine-grade plastic sheets are a lightweight alternative specifically developed to address common issues the industry struggles with.
Polymershapes is a leading North American plastics distributor with a wide selection of marine plastic sheets, rods, tubes, and more. Our marine material options provide UV resistance, toughness, optical clarity, weathering resistance, and more in a lightweight package. To learn more about which marine-grade plastics are best for your application, contact a Polymershapes specialist today.
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Benefits of Marine-Grade Plastics
Whether you are in a freshwater or saltwater setting, the life span and reliability of your equipment heavily depend on the material's quality. Performance plastics are developed with long-term use in mind and allow for various services in the harshest environments. Some benefits include:
- Saltwater, UV, weather, chemical, odor, and stain resistance
- Low coefficient of thermal expansion
- Low moisture absorption
- No rotting, swelling, or splintering
- Increased hydrodynamics
- Excellent stability and rigidity
Conventional materials may succumb to tarnish, water damage, salt damage, rust, weathering, and other forms of wear. Polymershapes performance plastics will extend the lifetime of your equipment and allow for applications in harsher environments.
Common Applications for Marine-Grade Plastics
Marine-grade plastics are developed to endure constant use and exposure to the elements. Plastic is a lightweight alternative to wood or metal that can improve durability, longevity, reliability, and long-term wear resistance. There is an array of material options that can be used in the following:
- Window frames
- Walkways & ladder treads
- Dock bumpers/fenders
- Fishing rod holders and racks
- Hull coring
- Pulleys and sheaves
- Relay bases
- Rudder and stern shaft bearings
- Vacuum infusion processes
- Deck machinery bushings and linear bearings
- Pump bearings
- Swim platforms
Marine-Grade Plastic Products
Common plastics used in the marine industry include:
- High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), BOATBOARD®
- Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) tubing
- Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMW-PE)
- Acrylic (Poly-Methyl Methacrylate, PMMA)
- Polycarbonate (PC), LEXAN™
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
- Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
- Diab Divinycell coring composites
Marine-Grade HDPE (BOATBOARD®)
Marine-grade high-density polyethylene, also known as BOATBOARD® or Starboard, is a mainstay of the industry. Specialty grades such as SIMONA’s BOATBOARD® offer extreme durability, UV, and water resistance. HDPE marine board is easy to fabricate and provides high consistency from sheet to sheet. This also helps protect the marine environment by minimizing plastic waste. For an extra 20% weight savings, BOATBOARD Lightweight is also available as an alternative to standard marine board HDPE.
Marine HDPE sheets and rods are commonly used in instrument panels, deck and seating components, storage bins, and more. It will not delaminate, rot, or splinter. It features an easy-to-clean surface and integral color to reduce the appearance of scratches and marring. To learn more about HDPE marine board sheets and other boat plastics, contact Polymershapes today.
Acrylic (Poly-Methyl Methacrylate, PMMA)
Clear plastics for boat windows, windshields, and hatches are frequently fabricated from acrylic. Acrylic is a clear plastic known for its glass-like optical clarity, shatter resistance, impact strength, and thermoformability. With options including cast acrylic, hard-coated impact-modified acrylic for superior impact strength, or abrasion-resistant, hard-coated acrylic for increased surface hardness, Polymershapes has the solution to your acrylic needs.
Marine-grade acrylic is used as the vessel's windshields, windows, and protective glazing. To invest in high-quality acrylic manufactured by the most reputable plastic brands, contact Polymershapes today.
Marine-Grade Polycarbonate (PC)
Boating materials must be made of sturdy, reliable materials that can withstand the demands of unforgiving ocean waters. LEXAN polycarbonate is a virtually-unbreakable material that is available in a variety of textures and surface patterns. It offers impact and abrasion resistance while preserving optical clarity.
Marine polycarbonate is a popular choice for marine enclosures, ensuring safety and durability while providing a clear view of the sea. It's often used in windshields, windows, wraparound speedboat screens and windshields, heavy-duty tanks, and more. Investing in LEXAN gives you a clear view of the open water for years to come.
Marine-Grade Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Expanded Foam PVC is a cost-effective, weather and rot-resistant, lightweight choice for marine upholstery. With standard and marine grades available, Foam PVC offers superb insulation properties with excellent screw and lag retention. Marine-grade options are specially made with improved UV protection for prolonged sun exposure. It also features improved resistance against mold, mildew, and more.
Marine-grade PVC sheets often serve as a long-lasting replacement for wood paneling. It is also found in backing plates, marine cup holders, and more.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
ABS is an easy to fabricate material known for its strength, chemical resistance, and versatility. Materials like ABS can adhere to fiberglass, offering rigidity and no water absorption. Recycled plastic materials are also a cost-effective, sustainable option. ABS is commonly used for cleat blocks and bulkheads.
Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Tubing
Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) tubing offers significant impact and chemical resistance, making it ideal for transporting fluids, drainage, vacuum bags, and more.
Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMW-PE)
UHMW is known for its superior impact resistance, wear resistance, and long-term reliability in wet and dry environments. It also offers low-friction and anti-corrosion qualities and strength comparable to various metals, making it an excellent alternative for mechanical components. UHMW is a significant investment that can reduce energy use, maintenance costs, and weight.
Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMW or UHMWPE) is an excellent choice for high-use, high-stress applications, such as dock fenders, rub rails, and lift bushings.
Diab Divinycell Coring Composites
One of the most common drawbacks of thick and sturdy material is the weight that comes with it. Conventional building materials may be strong but are typically very heavy, which can increase strain on mechanical parts and require more energy consumption to meet demand. Coring composite plastic fixes this issue. Instead of excessively thick and heavy construction, plastic cores can be fitted inside a hollow shell of the haul. The result is a much stiffer and more rigid core with a fraction of the weight.
Suppose your application requires a high-temperature tolerance and high peel strength. In that case, Divinycell HP is a PVC material with the dimensional stability and stiffness-to-weight ratio to address your needs.
Divinycell HM's high-performance material is developed for high-stress marine applications. Featuring extreme strength and superior elongation capabilities, HM is used to produce highly durable, lightweight marine vessels.
Divinycell PY is a PET material designed to withstand fluctuating temperatures and chemical exposure while retaining its strength and shape if you're looking for a thermoplastic with multiple applications. PY is also recyclable, making it an environmentally friendly option.
Divinycell H is developed for high-stress applications, designed to endure constant slamming, blunt force trauma, and more. It features the highest strength-to-weight ratio in its class.
Cut-to-Size Plastic Sheets
Full-size plastic sheets come prepared with enough material to meet your needs. However, you may only need it some, or it may be beneficial to receive it in smaller segments. Polymershapes can cut and size your order to ensure you get the right amount of material for your application.
Our network of in-house and partner facilities can finish, mill, bend, or cut your product into different shapes to ensure your order is ready to use upon arrival.
Invest in Marine-Grade Plastics with Polymershapes
Polymershapes is a leading distributor of marine-grade materials made by the most reputable names in the plastics industry, including SABIC, SIMONA, and more. Investing in materials that feature durability, low moisture absorption, and strength ensures long-term quality. For more information about marine plastics produced by some of the most reputable brands in the industry, contact Polymershapes today.