What You Need to Know About Plastic Outgassing

Plastic outgassing
Plastic outgassing is an important factor for plastic components that are going to be used in high-heat environments, vacuum applications, or enclosed spaces. Choosing low-outgassing plastics for these applications protects both workers and equipment.

What is Plastic Outgassing?

Most plastics contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which, when vaporized, are poisonous, carbon-containing chemicals. Direct contact with VOCs can irritate eyes, noses and throats, and cause coughing, headaches, dizziness and nausea. High temperatures accelerate outgassing, as do vacuum environments, with the vacuum of outer space producing the highest outgassing rates. (Which is why NASA tracks outgassing materials.) Since many industrial applications involve high heat or operating inside a vacuum, plastic outgassing becomes a critical factor in choosing plastic materials.

Low Outgassing Plastics

Certain industries – including aerospace, semiconductor, and energy – have strict requirements for plastic outgassing. Fluoropolymers tend to have the lowest outgassing properties and are commonly used in vacuum applications. Other high-purity plastics, such as PFA, are low outgassing and have low levels of leachables and extractables as well as low absorption of process fluids. These materials are typically used in applications in which contamination must be avoided, such as pharmaceutical, food processing, and semiconductor manufacturing.

Some of the best low outgassing plastics include:

The experts at Reading Plastic can help you determine which low outgassing plastic is right for your application, and have the tools and expertise to deliver high-quality, dependable parts. Call us today at 610-926-3245 or email site2@readingplastic.com to discuss your project.

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