High performance plastic types
There are many divergent kinds of high performance plastics available on the market. There has been a major increase in demand for it in recent years. The technical properties of high performance plastics are very diverse. Among other, we distinguish between the following kinds of high performance plastics.
Polyetheretherketone. PEEK has a very high and long-lasting operating temperature (around 280º C). The plastic is stiff, strong and has extremely good tensile and flexural strength at varying loads. In addition, PEEK is resistant against energy-rich radiation and is self-extinguishing according to UL94. The application of PEEK is very diverse. It is use in semi-conduction, the medical industry, the aerospace industry, research etc.
Polyimide can be used at high (and extremely low) temperatures, has no visible melting point and thus retains good shape stability and mechanical properties. The upper threshold at short peak temperatures is 450°C. Polyimide also extinguishes flames, is electrically insulating, resists energy-rich radiation and has minimal outgassing in a vacuum. Thanks to its intrinsic purity, PI sheets and poles are frequently used in high purity applications, such as semi-conduction, the aerospace industry and primary research (CERN).
PPS is a thermoplastic polymer with favourable properties, making it a suitable technical polymer for special applications. It is resistant against high temperatures of over 200 °C. It is a good electric insulator and is resistant against acids and alkalis and is almost insoluble in organic solvents under 200°C. PPS is also naturally flame retardant. In many cases, it can be used as an alternative for PEEK.
Polyether Imide belongs to the group of high performance plastics. It has good thermal and mechanical properties, is easily sterilised and has high mechanic strength across a wide operation temperature. PEI-plastic extinguishes flames and has a low smoke development. This plastic has a good resistance against UV and chemicals and is suited for direct contact with foodstuffs. This high performance plastic is suited for application in the semi-conduction industry and is often used for aeroplane parts.
A PEI variant is Semitron® ESD. The Semitron® plastics are perfect for specific environments requiring wear and chemical resistance and management of static electricity. These plastics are used to optimise the performances of equipment. Various types of Semitron® ESD plastics can be distinguished.
PAI, also called Polyamide Imide, has excellent mechanical properties. The plastic is used for machining parts that need to withstand a heavy load. PAI has wear resistance, a low frictional resistance and is resistant against gamma and X-ray radiation. PAI is used for electronic / electrically insulating parts and applications in the medical industry.
Torlon is a PAI type and combines excellent mechanic strength, stiffness and creep resistance across a wide range of temperatures. It has an extremely low expansion coefficient. Torlon plastics are particularly suited for applications in high temperatures.
PTFE, Polytetrafluoroethylene, is a fluoride plastic. Its most prominent characteristic is its lowest friction coefficient of all solids and its highest resistance against chemicals. Its material purity also makes PTFE suited for direct contact with foodstuffs. Its fluoride atoms and properties make this plastic suitable for many areas. In heavy applications, it offers advantages regarding stable and improved functions. PTFE is also known as Teflon. The decrease in dimensional accuracy of this material during machining should be kept in mind.