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Torlon is the highest-performance thermoplastic that is still melt-processible. Torlon can be extruded into shapes and injection-molded into custom geometrics. Torlon offers 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. Learn More
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. Ultem also has outstanding electrical properties and one of the highest dielectric strengths of any thermoplastic material. Learn More
PEEK has the best balance of heat resistance, wear resistance and and chemical resistance among all thermoplastics. It can be melt-processed into shapes by extrusion and parts by injection molding. It is part of the polyaryletherketones (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; have V-O flammability ratings; and emits little smoke and few toxic gases when exposed to flame. Learn More
Acetal is the common name for the family of thermoplastics with the chemical name of PolyOxyMethylene. Acetal 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 offers consistent properties throughout the shape because it is free of centerline porosity. Its low stress levels and high-strength assures flatness and dimensional stability up to a maximum continuous service temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Delrin offers slightly higher mechanical properties but can often contain a low density center. Delrin also gives slightly less chemical resistance. Delrin is ideal for such applications such as small thin-walled, small-diameter bushings that would benefit from the strength and rigidity of homopolymer acetal. Learn More
(ABS) is a copolymer commonly used for injection-molding applications because it has medium strength and performance, falling between standard resins and engineering resins, at a medium cost. It is tough, hard and rigid, with good chemical resistance and dimensional stability. Although ABS plastics are used largely for mechanical purposes, they also have good electrical properties that are constant over a wide range of frequencies.
Lexan is one of the top engineering thermoplastics, and products made from it usually are shatter-resistant and virtually unbreakable. Because of its strength, products made from Lexan can be made with thinner walls and lighter in weight. Because of its high purity and clarity, Lexan can be used in eyewear lenses. Its durability allows it to be used in products used on the patio and at the campsite. With its broad range of flame-retardant grades, Lexan also is used in a variety of electrical products, from switches and fuse boxes to plugs and sockets.
Polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) is the highest-performing sulfone polymer, with better impact and chemical resistance than polysulfone (PSU) and polyetherimide (PEI). The high heat resistance and hydrolytic stability of Radel make it an excellent choice for hot-water fittings and medical devices requiring repeated steam sterilization. Radel’s R-7000 Series products are specially formulated for use in aircraft interiors and are in compliance with stringent FAA regulations requiring low heat release, smoke generation and toxic gas emissions.
Ryton (polyphenylene sulfide) offers a unique combination of performance and cost balance. Ryton has a long-term resistance in temperatures up to 392 degrees Fahrenheit and a short-term resistance in temperatures up to 500 degrees. Even complex parts can be molded with very tight tolerances and will maintain dimensional stability in elevated temperatures and harsh chemical environments. Ryton is resistant to a wide variety of solvents and corrosive elements, and all Ryton compounds have UL94 V-O flammability ratings without flame-retardant additives. Learn More
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is more commonly known as Teflon. This versatile ivory-white and opaque fluoropolymer is suitable for applications in diverse industries, from aerospace to pharmaceuticals and food & drink to telecoms. Teflon’s melting point is 620 degrees Fahrenheit, and pure PTFE is almost totally chemically intert, highly insoluble in most solvents or chemicals, and thermally stable enough to be used between -328 degrees and 500 degrees without degrading. Teflon also has high flexural strength, electrical resistance and dielectric strength; is resistant to water; and has a low coefficient of friction.
There are a variety of acrylic polymer grades are available for extrusion and injection-molding manufacturing processes. Transparent, translucent opaque and colored polymers are available with varying levels of heat resistance, impact strength, flow rates, light transmission levels and release capabilities. Polymethyl Methacrylate acrylic (PMMA), has glass-like brilliance, transparency and translucence at half the weight of glass with up to 10 times the impact resistance. It can be formed to virtually any shape and has superior weathering properties compared with other plastics. Learn More
HDPE is a good low-cost plastic used in toys, utensils, films, bottles, pipes and processing equipment. It has good moisture and chemical resistance and is readily processed by all thermoplastic methods. It is limited by the fact it has a low temperature capability — 200 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit — high thermal expansion, poor weather resistance, subject to stress-cracking, difficult to bond and flammable.
Polyamide often is formed into fibers used for monofilaments and yards. Nylons are incredibly resistant to wear and abrasion, and have good mechanical properties (even at higher temperatures), good chemical resistance and low permeability to gases.
LDPE is similar to HDPE in cost. Its tensile strength and density is lower, but its resilience is higher. LDPE is widely used for containers, dispensing bottles, wash bottles, tubing, plastic bags, computer components and molded laboratory equipment. Its most common use, though, is in plastic bags.
Polyethylene terephthalate is a clear, strong and lightweight plastic widely used in food and beverage packaging. Virtually all single-serve and 2-liter bottles of carbonated soft drinks and water sold in the U.S. are made from PET. It also is popular for packaging salad dressings, cooking oils, mouthwash, window cleaner — even tennis balls. PET is completely recyclable and is the most recycled plastic in the world.
Polycarbonate plastics are particularly useful when impact, resistance and transparency are a product requirement; think bullet-proof glass. PC is commonly used in medical devices, automotive components, greenhouses, exterior lighting fixtures and plastic lenses for eyewear. Polycarbonate has very good heat resistance and can be combined with flame-retardant materials without significant material degradation.
CPVC is a yellowish plastic polymer that was invented to handle higher temperatures that regular PVC cannot. CPVC is stronger than PVC and does not corrode easily; however it is brittle and can’t stand very high temperatures. It also has a high thermal expansion coefficient and may not be the best choice for climates with a wide temperature variation.
Polypropylene is one of the most versatile and cost-effective plastics, with good impact strength, surface hardness, dimensional stability and abrasion resistance. Polypropylene is resistant to a wide variety of acids, alkalis and solvent solutions with a temperature range up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Polyvinyl chloride is one of the most popular plastics used in building and construction, drinking water and wastewater pipes, window frames, flooring and roofing foils. PVC is resistant to weathering, chemical rotting, corrosion, shock and abrasion. PVC does not conduct electricity, so it's excellent to use for electrical applications.