ABS Glass Transition Temperature | The Complete Guide

ABS Glass Transition Temperature

Glass transition temperature, also known as Tg, is a critical temperature in the behavior of amorphous polymers. It is the temperature at which the polymer transitions from a hard and brittle state to a more rubbery and flexible state, much like the behavior of glass as it is heated.

ABS glass transition temp is 105°C (221°f).

That means, Below the glass transition temperature, the plastic appears hard and has a glassy texture, while above this critical temperature, it exhibits more flexibility and resembles rubber.

Before diving deep into the concept of ABS plastic Tg, I will clarify how the Tg of plastic material is calculated.

ABS with a higher Tg is appropriate for applications requiring heat resistance, such as automobile components. Pipes, electronics, electrical goods, aerospace, and toys.

What is Glass Transition Temperature?

Glass transition temperature (Tg) refers to the temperature at which a material shifts from a stiff and solid glassy state to a more flexible and rubbery state due to the gradual rise in molecular mobility.

As the temperature increases above Tg, the molecular chains in the material can move more freely and demonstrate a viscous flow.

On the other hand, below Tg, the material becomes fragile and displays elastic behavior.

How ABS Tg is Calculated?

ASTM E1356 is the prevailing method for determining the glass transition temperature of plastics, let alone ABS.

The approach employs differential thermal analysis or scanning calorimetry to evaluate the Tg of materials.

However, the techniques are only suitable for amorphous materials and crystalline substances with stable partial amorphous areas that do not undergo decomposition in the glass transition region.

In both methods, DTA and DSC, thermal input trigger peaks that correspond to endothermic and exothermic transitions, indicating phase changes.

DTA works by measuring the difference in temperature or time between the sample and reference materials while observing the changes in temperature of the model in a particular atmosphere.

Conversely, DSC measures the disparity in heat flow to a sample and reference material while monitoring the temperature changes programmed in a specific atmosphere.

In addition to DTA and DSC, other techniques can determine the glass transition temperature of ABS plastic, including:

  • Thermomechanical analysis,
  • Thermal expansion measurement,
  • Micro-heat transfer measurement,
  • Heat capacity
  • Isothermal compressibility,
  • Specific heat measurements.

Factors Affecting ABS Glass Transition Temperature 

Several factors affect ABS Tg; however, the three most relevant characteristics are mentioned below.

Polymer Composition

The composition of ABS, which is a copolymer of acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene, can significantly impact its Tg.

The ratio of these monomers in the polymer chain can influence the packing and mobility of polymer chains; hence, its Tg.

Additives, fillers, or other polymers in the ABS matrix can also affect its Tg.

Processing Conditions

The processing conditions used to manufacture ABS can significantly impact its Tg.

For example, the cooling rate during manufacturing can influence the polymer chain packing and mobility, affecting Tg.

Other factors, such as the annealing temperature, the molecular weight of the polymer, and the degree of cross-linking, can also affect Tg.

Environmental Factors

Environmental conditions, such as humidity and temperature, can impact the Tg of ABS.

High humidity levels can cause plasticizers to leach out of the polymer, affecting the packing and mobility of the polymer chains and, in turn, its Tg.

Additionally, exposure to high temperatures can cause thermal degradation, lowering Tg.

How ABS Tg Affects its Other Properties 

The glass transition temp significantly impacts ABS’s general properties. Let’s get into the details.

Mechanical Properties 

The glass transition temperature (Tg) of ABS plays a critical role in defining its mechanical characteristics like robustness and functionality.

When the Tg value escalates, the movement of the polymer chains decreases, resulting in increased hardness and strength.

As a result, ABS that boasts a higher Tg displays superior resilience to deformation when subjected to stress, increased rigidity, and excellent stability in terms of dimensions.

Physical Properties 

Impact Resistance: ABS’s glass transition temperature (Tg) considerably influences its resistance to impact.

A higher Tg leads to more brittleness, thus diminishing its ability to absorb energy and reducing its impact resistance.

On the other hand, ABS with a lower Tg value tends to be tougher, enhancing its capacity to endure abrupt impacts without breaking.

Transparency and Haze: The optical properties of ABS are also dictated by its Tg. When the Tg value is higher, the transparency of ABS decreases, which results in greater haze.

This phenomenon is due to the limited movement of molecules and heightened light scattering within the polymer structure.

Density: ABS density is not directly impacted by its glass transition temp. Density is primarily determined by the polymer’s molecular structure and arrangement, not its glass transition temperature.

However, higher Tg values can lead to more rigid structures, which could indirectly impact the material’s bulk properties.

Chemical Properties

The glass transition temperature (Tg) of ABS contributes significantly to its chemical properties, including its solubility, resistance to chemicals, and compatibility with various materials.

Solubility: ABS possessing a higher Tg usually exhibits reduced solubility in solvents due to intensified intermolecular forces and limited mobility of polymer chains.

On the other hand, ABS with a lower Tg tends to be more soluble, simplifying its processing.

Chemical Resistance: A higher Tg often indicates superior chemical resistance. ABS with elevated Tg displays increased resistance to chemical substances like acids, alkalis, and organic solvents.

This enhanced resistance is a product of the restricted mobility of its chains and increased crosslinking within the polymer structure.

Thermal Properties 

Melting point: The Tg of ABS doesn’t directly impact its melting point, which is dictated by its crystalline segments.

However, higher Tg values correlate with increased stiffness, potentially requiring higher temperatures for processing to achieve proper flow and moldability, not necessarily melting.

Heat Resistance: The Tg of ABS is essential in dictating its heat resistance and other thermal properties.

ABS with a higher Tg offers enhanced stability in high-temperature conditions and better resistance to deformation under heat.

Processing Temperature: The processing temperature of ABS is also influenced by its Tg.

ABS with a higher Tg requires more elevated temperatures during processing to ensure adequate melt flow and moldability.

On the other hand, ABS with a lower Tg allows for more effortless processing at reduced temperatures, leading to decreased energy usage and improved manufacturing efficiency.


ABS glass transition temperature is a critical parameter that determines the mechanical behavior and applications of ABS. Measuring Tg is necessary in the manufacturing and design of ABS products.

ABS’s versatility and excellent mechanical properties make it a popular choice for various applications in different industries, such as automotive, electronics, toys, sports equipment, and medical.

Please mention any questions and feedback in the comment box.

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