Thermosets and thermoplastics

From: M. Burns ( ((
Date: Tue May 13 1997 - 16:23:38 EEST

Good morning,

     A technical question for the materials (plastics) geniuses out there:

     As I understand it, plastics (i.e. organic polymers) may be
classified as either thermoplastics or thermosets, the difference being
whether they respond to heat by (thermoplastics:) reversably softening and
melting or (thermosets:) irreversably degrading.

     Now it seems that individual types of plastics are classified as one
or the other of these two. E.g. ABS = thermoplastic; PMMA = thermoset.
But I've also heard that what makes a thermoset is crosslinking.

     So my question is this: (a) Can any plastic be made a thermoset
by crosslinking? and (b) Can any plastic be made a thermoplastic by
preventing crosslinking?

     Thanks for your help with this fairly basic question.

Best regards,
Marshall Burns

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