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High-performance plastics

High-performance plastics

Nov 05, 2018

Polyepoxide (epoxy) – used as an adhesive, potting agent for electrical components, and matrix for composite materials with hardeners including amine, amide, and boron trifluoride.

Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) (acrylic) – contact lenses (of the original "hard" variety), glazing (best known in this form by its various trade names around the world; e.g. Perspex, Plexiglas, Oroglas), aglets, fluorescent light diffusers, rear light covers for vehicles. It forms the basis of artistic and commercial acrylic paints when suspended in water with the use of other agents.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), or Teflon – heat-resistant, low-friction coatings, used in things like non-stick surfaces for frying pans, plumber's tape and water slides.

Phenolics or phenol formaldehyde (PF) – high modulus, relatively heat resistant, and excellent fire resistant polymer. Used for insulating parts in electrical fixtures, paper laminated products (e.g. Formica), thermally insulation foams. It is a thermosetting plastic, with the familiar trade name Bakelite, that can be molded by heat and pressure when mixed with a filler-like wood flour or can be cast in its unfilled liquid form or cast as foam (e.g. Oasis). Problems include the probability of moldings naturally being dark colors (red, green, brown), and as thermoset it is difficult to recycle.

Melamine formaldehyde (MF) – one of the aminoplasts, used as a multi-colorable alternative to phenolics, for instance in moldings (e.g. break-resistance alternatives to ceramic cups, plates and bowls for children) and the decorated top surface layer of the paper laminates (e.g. Formica).

Urea-formaldehyde (UF) – one of the aminoplasts, used as a multi-colorable alternative to phenolics: used as a wood adhesive (for plywood, chipboard, hardboard) and electrical switch housings.

Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) – strong, chemical- and heat-resistant thermoplastic, biocompatibility allows for use in medical implant applications, aerospace moldings. One of the most expensive commercial polymers.

Maleimide/bismaleimide – used in high temperature composite materials.

Polyetherimide (PEI) (Ultem) – a high temperature, chemically stable polymer that does not crystallize.

Polyimide – a high temperature plastic used in materials such as Kapton tape.

Plastarch material – biodegradable and heat-resistant thermoplastic composed of modified corn starch.

Polylactic acid (PLA) – a biodegradable, thermoplastic found converted into a variety of aliphatic polyesters derived from lactic acid, which in turn can be made by fermentation of various agricultural products such as cornstarch, once made from dairy products.

Furan – resin based on furfuryl alcohol used in foundry sands and biologically derived composites.

Silicone – heat resistant resin used mainly as a sealant but also used for high temperature cooking utensils and as a base resin for industrial paints.

Polysulfone – high temperature melt processable resin used in membranes, filtration media, water heater dip tubes and other high temperature applications.