High-performance thermoplastics: Are they worth it?

05/22/2014

Why would you pick a specialty polymer that costs more than most engineering thermoplastics (ETPs)? How can your company compete if buyers choose higher-cost, high-performance thermoplastics (HPTPs) instead of lower-cost ETPs like nylons and polycarbonates? Material properties matter, of course, but do you really need a more expensive thermoplastic for your application?

Material selection

The consequences of choosing the wrong material can be costly. In industries such as aerospace and mass transit, part failure can also be catastrophic. High-performance thermoplastics are higher-priced, but they provide greater thermal resistance than other engineering polymers. For example, many HPTPs can withstand long-term service temperatures of 150°C and short-term temperatures of 250°C.

Compared to other thermoplastics, HPTPs also offer greater thermal stability over both the short and the long term. This includes higher melting points, heat deflection temperatures, glass transition temperatures, and continuous-use temperatures. High-performance thermoplastics also combine stronger resistance to burning with improved mechanical properties and chemical resistance.
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