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Styrene-Acrylonitrile copolymer

SAN is a transparent and glossy engineering polymer also with good scratch and chemical resistance.

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”We have been working with Hardie Polymers for several years to source specialist, and sometimes obscure, medical polymers for our business.

Regardless of the low volumes we may ask for, Hardies always do everything they can to get us what we need, when we need it.

I have no hesitation in recommending this business to any other plastic converter.”

Medical Moulded Products, Burton-on-Trent.

Physical Properties

Rigid, transparent, tough, resistant to greases, stress cracking and crazing, easily processed, resistant to food stains. Easy to process and colour.

Better chemical resistance than polystyrene, particularly to oil, petrol and grease; higher heat distortion temperature than polystyrene; good combination of rigidity, strength, toughness and transparency.More expensive than polystyrene; less transparent than polystyrene, acrylic and polycarbonate; inferior UV resistance to acrylic.

Chemical Properties

Resistant to oils, grease, acids and alkaline solutions and saturated hydrocarbons.

Not resistant to concentrated mineral acids, aromatic hydrocarbons and chlorinated hydrocarbons, esters, ethers and ketones.

Typical Applications

Water jugs, drinking tumblers, kitchen and picnic ware hi-fi covers, lenses, water jugs and toothbrush handles, radio dials, TV set screens, washing machine trims.

Light diffusers, reflectors, display windows for electrical equipment, dials, knobs, covers, TV set screens, washing machine trim.

Cosmetics, lipsticks, lotion jars etc.


The highly polar acrylonitrile repeat unit raises the chemical polarity of the copolymer and makes it more resistant to hydrocarbon solvents (better resistance to oils, petrol and grease) while still retaining good water resistance. However the higher the acrylonitrile content the more difficult the SAN is to process.

The copolymer, being homogeneous and amorphous, retains high clarity although the slight yellow cast can be masked by tinting with a blue colorant or by creating a smoke effect.

The more polar nature of SAN also gives higher strength and impact resistance than general purpose polystyrene and also a higher heat distortion temperature.


Highly flammable, burns with a bright yellow flame and will give off a lot of smoke. Will emit the usual sweet smell of styrenes

Useful Data

Density – 1.08 g/cm ³

Pre-Drying – 4 hours at 80°C in a dehumidifying hot air drier

Melt temperature – 220-250°C

Mould Temperature – 40-80°C

Shrinkage – 0.4-0.7%

Trade Names And Manufacturers

Kostil – Versalis

Kumho – Kumho Petrochemical

Luran – Ineos Styrolution

LG – LG Chem

Grupa Azoty – Tarnoform

BASF – Ultraform

Hardie Polymers can help source grades from all of the above manufacturers


Styrene Acrylonitrile copolymers have been around since the 1940’s.

With its increased toughness over polystyrene it had many advantages which made it suitable for numerous applications, particularly around the kitchen for example where it’s attractiveness and resistance to fats, oils and cleaning agents came to the fore.

However, its limitations ultimately led to the introduction of a new material where butadiene rubber was added as a third monomer, and so the range of materials referred to as ABS plastics came about.

More about Styrene-Acrylonitrile copolymer

Articles by Dr Charlie Geddes

Where are Engineering Thermoplastics Blends going ?

Transparent ABS can be a clear winner

Our longstanding partnerships allow us to specialise in sourcing and compounding most grades of engineering polymers. All brand names listed are trademarks of the manufacturers and we are not an authorised distributor for these manufacturers. We only supply prime grades in original packaging with the manufacturers documentation.

® – Trademarks owned or used by the producers.
™ – Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (status in the U.S. only, registration status in other geographies may be different)

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