For high-temperature applications, you need plastic materials that can resist thermal degradation while maintaining sufficient strength and stiffness at operating temperature. Enter heat-resistant plastics, materials that can exceed 300ºF in continuous operating temperature without compromising their mechanical properties. Choosing the right heat-resistant plastic for the job often involves more considerations than just the operating temperature, such as the material’s chemical resistance, friction and wear performance, and tensile strength. Here are 5 of the top-performing heat-resistant plastics for tough applications:
- Teflon® (PTFE) – Teflon® is most widely known for its non-stick properties as it has one of the lowest coefficients of friction against any solid known to man. But it also has a large operating temperature range, with enough thermal stability to be used between -328ºF and +500ºF without degrading. PTFE also has high flexural strength, high electrical resistance and dielectric strength, and is hydrophobic. One of the other unique features of Teflon® is that it is almost totally chemically inert and highly insoluble in most solvents or chemicals. This incredible combination of properties makes it the perfect polymer for a range of high-temperature applications.
- Vespel® – This heat-resistant plastic can serve at temperatures up to 550ºF, and can even endure temperatures up to 900ºF for limited periods, without altering its thermal or mechanical properties. This makes Vespel® a popular choice for applications such as jet engines, cars, trucks, and industrial machinery. Vespel® is also highly resistant to chemical corrosion, has high impact resistance and strength toughness, and provides low friction and superior wear performance. This lightweight material can be easily machined to achieve complex geometries and tight tolerances, allowing for the creation of designs that would be impossible with lesser materials.
- Torlon® – Torlon® is a polyamide-imide that offers exceptional long-term strength and stiffness with a continuous service temperature of 500ºF. This makes it an effective alternative to metal for high temperature friction and wear applications. Torlon® is stronger at 400ºF than other engineering resins are at room temperature. With outstanding resistance to creep, wear, and chemicals – including strong acids and most organic chemicals – Torlon® is perfect for severe service environments.
- PEEK – With a melting point over 700ºF, a continuous operating temperature of 500ºF, and superior hardness, PEEK can run in high-load, high-temperature environments without any loss of dimensional properties. PEEK is also resistant to many harsh chemicals and is capable of withstanding wear effects even under harsh physical and chemical conditions. With the highest tensile and flexural strength of any high-performance polymer, PEEK is perfect for applications that require metal-like durability. While PEEK’s high temperature resistance can make it difficult to process, in its solid state PEEK is readily machinable by CNC milling machines.
- Celazole® PBI – In temperatures exceeding 400ºF, Celazole® PBI has the highest heat and wear resistance, as well as the best strength and mechanical property retention, of any engineered polymer available. Celazole® is most recognized for its exceptionally high glass transition temperature of 800ºF and offers better load-carrying capabilities and wear resistance at extreme temperatures than any other reinforced or unreinforced engineering plastic. It has a continuous service capability of 750ºF in inert environments and 650ºF in air, with short-term exposure potential up to 1,000ºF. This high-performance thermoplastic has high strength, high modulus, does not burn, is soluble in few solvents, and other plastics that melt do not stick to it.
For more information on heat resistant plastics and how they can benefit your project, call us today at 610-926-3245.