Commercially available plastic resins and rubber compounds are rarely used in pure form. Generally, to be useful, these polymer materials contain various types of additives at specific concentrations. There are numerous unique classifications of additives that are used in plastic and rubber materials. It is common for polymer materials to contain several combinations of additives in concentration ranges from parts per million to high percentage values.
Additives serve a wide variety of purposes when incorporated into polymer materials. Additive packages can include air release agents, fillers, flame retardants, heat stabilizers, and lubricants, to name a few. These additives are intentionally incorporated into polymers to tailor their performance, processing and long-term stability.
However, the use of additives can also create unintended consequences for the manufacturer. The additives have the potential to generate excessive costs and reduce profit margins, yield out-of-compliance products, and cause alleged patent infringement. Let's take a look at how the use of additives can lead to unintended consequences.