At Littlestar, we work with a vast array of plastics, but we specialize in molding and machining performance plastics. These are not your typical lunch boxes, plastic bottles and toys. Performance polymers such as polyamide-imide and polyetheretherketone are used in specialized situations for instance when performing in extreme temperatures, resistance to wear, or tolerance to chemicals is critical.
Medical devices and dental tooling often use performance plastics. Off-highway equipment manufacturers use these polymers to replace much more expensive metal components. Modern airplanes are now utilizing exotic composites which are performance plastics reinforced with other materials like fiberglass. For them, it’s simple economics. Every pound shed from a plane saves the company that operates it 14,000 gallons of fuel per year.
Today, components used in environments as demanding and varied as aerospace, medical devices, and food service, make use of performance plastics. Many of these polymers meet or exceed the specifications of metals at a fraction of the cost and weight.
These are a few of our favorite performance plastics. Follow each link to learn more, or give us a call and speak with one of our experienced application engineers about the details of your project.
Torlon (polyamide-imide) is the highest-performance thermoplastic that is still melt-processible. It has unmatched strength at high temperatures. With a softening temperature and continuous service temperature of 500 degrees Fahrenheit, Torlon is stronger at 400 degrees than other engineering resins at room temperature. There are several variations of Torlon to accommodate different performance specifications.
Ultem (polyetherimide) is a semi-transparent high strength material that can operate in high service temperatures and comes in a wide variety, including glass-filled, which improves its performance even more in higher temperatures. Ultem is resistant to steam and hot water and can withstand repeated cycles in a steam autoclave.
PEEK (polyetheretherketone) has the best balance of heat resistance, wear resistance and chemical resistance among all thermoplastics. It is part of the polyaryletherketone (PAEK) family, which are known for their chemical inertness including to saturated steam. PAEK materials readily accept such additives as graphite and PTFE, making it perfect for chemically tough service conditions.
Acetal is the common name for the family of thermoplastics with the chemical name of Polyoxymethylene. It is available in the copolymer acetal (POM-C) and homopolymer acetal (POM-H) called Delrin. Acetal Copolymer is a high-performance plastic at a slightly lower cost than Delrin. Acetal’s low stress levels and high-strength assures flatness and dimensional stability up to a maximum continuous service temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Delrin gives slightly less chemical resistance. Delrin is ideal for applications such as small thin-walled, small-diameter bushings that would benefit from the strength and rigidity of homopolymer acetal.
If you have a project where you want the strength of metal with the weight and cost of plastic but don’t know the perfect solution, contact Littlestar. Our experienced application engineers will help you discover what’s possible with plastic.