Identification tests for plastics

Density -
  • ​does it float in water? (yes/no)
Fiberous materials such as webbing  / ropes must be thoroughly wetted to avoid trapped air.

Scratch / impact resistance
  • what happens when you  scratch with a fingernail, hit with a hammer?
  • what happens when you bend it?

Effect of burning  -
Burning (combustion) is a chemical reaction that provides information about the chemistry of the plastic
Some plastics burn violently.  It may produce burning droplets. Keep water nearby for extinguishing flames and burn first aid..  Smoke is toxic, ensure adequate ventilation..
  • does the plastic readily ignite?
  • does it continue to burn on it's own?
  • are burning drops formed?
  • What colour is the smoke?, flame?
  • what does the smoke smell like?

By comparing these observations with those of known plastics, the spcific plastic can usually be identified.