What's the Difference?

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate) are both thermoplastic polymers commonly used in 3D printing and injection molding applications. While ABS is known for its high impact resistance and durability, ASA offers improved weather resistance and UV stability, making it a better choice for outdoor applications. ABS has a higher glass transition temperature, making it more suitable for high-temperature environments, while ASA has better chemical resistance and color stability. Overall, both materials have their own unique properties and advantages, making them suitable for different types of projects and applications.


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Chemical StructureAcrylonitrile-Butadiene-StyreneAcrylonitrile-Styrene-Acrylate
Physical PropertiesTough and rigidGood impact resistance and weatherability
ApplicationsAutomotive parts, electronic housingsOutdoor signage, automotive trim
ProcessingInjection molding, extrusionInjection molding, thermoforming
Photo by Gbenga Onalaja on Unsplash

Further Detail


ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate) are two popular thermoplastic materials used in various industries for their unique properties. While both ABS and ASA have similar chemical compositions, they differ in terms of their physical and mechanical attributes. In this article, we will compare the key characteristics of ABS and ASA to help you understand which material is best suited for your specific application.

Chemical Composition

ABS is a terpolymer made up of three monomers: acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene. This combination results in a material that is tough, impact-resistant, and has good heat resistance. On the other hand, ASA is a copolymer of acrylonitrile and styrene, with the addition of acrylic ester. This addition of acrylic ester improves the weatherability and UV resistance of ASA, making it suitable for outdoor applications.

Physical Properties

ABS is known for its high impact strength and toughness, making it ideal for applications that require durability and resistance to impact. It also has good heat resistance and can withstand temperatures up to 176°F (80°C). ASA, on the other hand, has similar impact strength to ABS but offers better weatherability and UV resistance. This makes ASA a preferred choice for outdoor applications where exposure to sunlight and harsh weather conditions is a concern.

Mechanical Properties

ABS has a tensile strength of around 5,000 psi and a flexural modulus of 300,000 psi. It also has good dimensional stability and can be easily machined, drilled, and painted. ASA, on the other hand, has a slightly lower tensile strength of around 4,000 psi but offers better resistance to weathering and UV exposure. ASA is also easier to process and has better color retention compared to ABS.


ABS is commonly used in a wide range of applications, including automotive parts, electronic housings, toys, and consumer goods. Its high impact strength and heat resistance make it a versatile material for various industries. ASA, on the other hand, is preferred for outdoor applications such as signage, automotive trim, and marine components. Its superior weatherability and UV resistance make it a durable choice for applications exposed to the elements.


In terms of cost, ABS is generally more affordable than ASA. This makes ABS a cost-effective option for applications where weatherability and UV resistance are not critical factors. ASA, on the other hand, is slightly more expensive due to its superior weatherability and UV resistance. However, the added cost of ASA may be justified for applications that require long-term durability and color retention.


In conclusion, both ABS and ASA have their own unique properties and advantages. ABS is known for its high impact strength and heat resistance, while ASA offers superior weatherability and UV resistance. The choice between ABS and ASA will ultimately depend on the specific requirements of your application. Consider factors such as impact strength, weatherability, UV resistance, and cost when selecting the right material for your project.

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