Polypropylene is in many aspects similar to polyethylene, especially in solution behavior and electrical properties. The additionally present methyl group improves mechanical properties and thermal resistance, while the chemical resistance decreases. The properties of polypropylene depend on the molecular weight and molecular weight distribution, crystallinity, type and proportion of comonomer (if used) and the isotacticity. Polypropylene is at room temperature resistant to fats and almost all organic solvents, apart from strong oxidants. Non-oxidizing acids and bases can be stored in containers made of PP. At elevated temperature, PP can be solved in of low polarity solvents (e.g. xylene, tetralin and decalin). Due to the tertiary carbon atom PP is chemically less resistant than PE.
Melting process of polypropylene can be achieved via extrusion and molding. Common extrusion methods include production of melt-blown and spun-bond fibers to form long rolls for future conversion into a wide range of useful products, such as face masks, filters, diapers and wipes.
The most common shaping technique is injection molding, which is used for parts such as cups, cutlery, vials, caps, containers, housewares, and automotive parts such as batteries. The related techniques of blow molding and injection-stretch blow molding are also used, which involve both extrusion and molding. The large number of end-use applications for polypropylene are often possible because of the ability to tailor grades with specific molecular properties and additives during its manufacture. For example, antistatic additives can be added to help polypropylene surfaces resist dust and dirt. Many physical finishing techniques can also be used on polypropylene, such as machining. Surface treatments can be applied to polypropylene parts in order to promote adhesion of printing ink and paints.
As polypropylene is resistant to fatigue, most plastic living hinges, such as those on flip-top bottles, are made from this material. However, it is important to ensure that chain molecules are oriented across the hinge to maximize strength. Very thin sheets (~2–20 µm) of polypropylene are used as a dielectric within certain high-performance pulse and low-loss RF capacitors. Polypropylene is used in the manufacturing piping systems; both ones concerned with high-purity and ones designed for strength and rigidity (e.g. those intended for use in potable plumbing, hydronic heating and cooling, and reclaimed water).