Ponds need Pond Liners like a building needs a foundation. Among all the materials used for Pond Liners, plastic is the most versatile. It comes in two forms- pre-formed and flexible.
Preformed or rigid plastic liners are strong and long-lasting. They are made of polythene and other recycled plastic material. They do not develop leaks. They are more cost-effective than concrete. An average gardener can set up a small pond within one day using this liner.
Some of these models are fitted above the ground and some below the ground. Rocks and stones may be placed around it to give a natural look. The liners may be both UV- as well as frost-resistant. But they may be difficult to fit because of their different shapes and sizes.
Among the preformed models, the plastic liners may be cheaper than fiberglass, but do not offer support for free-standing use of the pond in a raised water garden. It is difficult to build around a plastic pond and support it evenly. When support is not uniform there is a danger that the plastic liner will crack.
Flexible Pond Liners are also available, like PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) and HDPE (High Density Poly Ethylene).These liners are not as flexible as rubber. Plastic liners are often used on large holding ponds when economy is a bigger concern than flexibility.
Large ponds require a Pond Liner that is safe for fish and aquatic plant life, inexpensive, easy to install and durable. Polyethylene fits the bill. Medium-density Polyethylene contains up to 5 percent carbon black, which makes it highly UV stable and suited to outdoor life. Twenty and 30 mm polyethylene can be custom-made according to your specifications.
PVC, or Polyvinyl Chloride, has excellent chemical compatibility and puncture resistance, lending itself to membrane liner applications. Some PVC liners contain UV stabilizers which protect them from breaking down when exposed to sunlight. PVC is not a crystalline membrane liner material, so it can elongate in all directions. It is the most cost-effective buried membrane and it has the longest successful use of liner material.
Another plastic is Polypropylene. It has special properties, like outstanding dimension stability, low coefficient of expansion and contraction, wide temperature seaming range, good chemical resistance and no stress cracking.
Plastic has its plusses and minuses, and the choice depends on the individual's requirements.
In vacuum forming or thermoforming fabrication, the material is just as important as the mold. If a lower-quality plastic sheet is used, the end product could be compromised. The color of the sheet could be uneven and inconsistent. Unpredictable melting could occur, causing irregular gauge thickness. Longer curing and drying could add operation time and cost to the fabrication process. In other words, having the best vacuum formable plastic sheet will always yield the best-finished product.
In short, vacuum forming is a stripped down, simpler adaptation of thermoforming. With vacuum forming, a heated, pliant plastic sheet is stretched on top or inside of a mold. The formable sheet then conforms to the shape of the mold with the application of a vacuum to ensure the plastic fills the mold, tightly and neatly. Once the sheet is formed, the vacuum is released, along with the now-formed plastic sheet.
Vacuum forming is ideal for prototyping and manufacturing parts with a shorter-run production output due to being an easy and economical operation. It is also an outstanding way to fabricate more shallow molds without the higher operational costs associated with thermoforming. Newer, technological advances have allowed vacuum forming with deeper molds, as long as the formable sheet is of higher quality and is mechanically stretched before application to the mold.
When selecting the material for your project, forming plastic is an ideal option. Vacuum formable plastic sheets, usually made of PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) are designed especially for the vacuum forming or thermoforming process. They can withstand heat application without melting or breaking down. They are also highly regarded for their ease of processing and are inexpensive in comparison to other sheets. Be sure to choose a plastic or PVC sheet that meets your specific requirements, such as thickness, color, surface texture, and overall size. Look for a product that offers precise gauge control and consistent color with lot-to-lot traceability. This way, there will be no differences between manufacturing runs.
There are a variety of applications that benefit from both vacuum/thermoforming and formable plastic sheets. The production of kiosks and automated teller machines include external plastic structures that accommodate delicate, internal mechanisms securely and with branded aesthetics. Since the formable sheets are highly customizable, medical device housing and electronic equipment cases can be properly fitted for a precise fit and appropriate protection. On a smaller scale, electrical components are a perfect application because of the inherent flame retardance of the formable plastic sheet material.
If you are considering your options for a small run of manufactured molded parts or experimenting with a prototype, vacuum forming/thermoforming with vacuum formable plastic sheets is an excellent choice. While the manufacturing process itself is straightforward, the selection of an industry-proven formable sheet will provide high-performance durability without cutting into your bottom line. Be sure to choose a high-quality formable plastic sheet that will hold up to the demands of your next project; you will have a consistent, reliable end product every time.