What Are “Performance Plastics”?
Performance plastics or engineering plastics include lines of different plastic materials that, by their unique properties, have the ability to be stable and to maintain their properties in demanding environments. These are plastics that exceed regular standards. These “specialty” plastic materials have the ability to withstand high loads and stresses while being stable and offering superior performance to other more traditional materials. Performance plastics are suitable for a wide variety of applications. They are specifically designed for high-demanding environments. Performance plastics include:
- PAI (Polyamide-imide)
- PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate)
- PEEK® (Polyetheretherketone)
- PEI ULTEM® (Polyetherimide)
- PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
- PI (Polyimide)
- PSU (Polysulfone)
There are also other high performance plastics but by being slightly less specialized so this allows greater versatility we can think of:
The Characteristics of Performance Plastics
High Heat Resistance :
This characteristic is by far the one that best allows performance plastics to adapt to the most demanding environments. The heat resistance refer to the ability of a material to maintain its properties when exposed to high temperatures. High heat resistance will allow the material to be used in applications where other plastics would be rapidly degraded and therefore inefficient. To learn more about plastics and heat resistance, read our article: Are plastic materials heat resistant?
Impact Strength :
It is the ability of a material to withstand a sudden or rapid intense load without breaking. Because of their molecular structure, some performance plastics are perfectly suited for environments where impacts are frequent and repetitive.
Wear Resistance :
This is the ability of a material to be subjected to friction force without degrading. Wear resistance and friction coefficient work together. Performance plastics are designed to have a very low coefficient of friction, allowing materials to slide easily on to contact surfaces. To learn more about plastic wear resistance: The Wear Resistance of Plastics
Performance plastics are known for their excellent chemical resistance. They have the ability to maintain their properties when coming in direct contact with highly corrosive chemicals and agents. The chemical resistance of a plastic material is measured by its ability to remain stable when it is in continuous contact with a chemical agent over an average or a long period of time. To learn more about the chemical resistance of plastic materials, read our article: Can Plastic Withstand Corrosive Chemicals?
How Do Performance Plastics Generate Savings?
Reducing the frequency of parts replacement and maintenance costs
In industrial environments, many mechanical parts are made from metals, including those that are constantly in motion and under high stresses. These parts will therefore tend to wear out very quickly. This wear requires replacement of parts or more maintenance downtime (e.g. lubrication), which involves additional maintenance or replacement costs. By opting for parts made of performance plastic materials, their useful life will be significantly increased. Mechanical parts made of high-performance plastic materials will optimally be both very durable and energy efficient.