High-performance polymers are characterized by their extreme strength, durability, and resistance to wear and damage. These polymers meet higher requirements than engineering plastics due to their more desirable properties and are generally used for applications in demanding environments that require tight tolerances. There are various types of high-performance polymers on the market with advantageous properties, so how do you know what is right for you?

Beneficial Properties of High-Performance Polymers

Strength-to-Weight Ratio

High-performance polymers have a high strength-to-weight ratio. This means that these polymers are very lightweight but also very strong. High strength-to-weight ratios improve the overall performance of the product while also decreasing its weight.

Thermal Stability

With the ability to maintain their physical characteristics in extreme temperatures, high-performance polymers are a great choice for applications that are exposed to high temperatures. These applications can be found in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and electronics.

Chemical Resistance

High-performance polymers can be exposed to various chemicals without dissolving or degrading. This resistance applies to acids, bases, solvents, oils, and gasses, allowing for their use in many different applications.

Mechanical Properties

These polymers also exhibit mechanical strength and dimensional stability. From high tensile strength to impact resistance, these polymers are great for use in applications with tight tolerances.

How to Decide Which High-Performance Polymers Fit the Needs of Your Application

What Properties are Essential for the Function of Your Product?

Some applications require thermal stability while others require biocompatibility. It is important to understand what the needs of your product are before choosing a high-performance polymer. 

  • PEEK is characterized by its strength and thermal stability, making it ideal for applications that require strong mechanical properties or applications that will be exposed to high temperatures.
  • PDVF is resistant to many chemicals and can act as a dielectric barrier. This makes PDVF a good choice for electrical applications as well as any application that may be exposed to chemicals.
  • PSU provides good electrical insulation while maintaining high mechanical strength and dimensional stability. This versatile polymer is used frequently in the electronic industry for these reasons.
  • PTFE has a very high resistance to chemicals and good thermal stability, making it a great choice for any chemical application. It is also frequently found in the food and pharmaceutical industries.
  • PPS offers very high purity characteristics as well as chemical resistance, electrical insulation, and mechanical strength. Due to these factors, it is widely used in the medical, chemical, electronic, and automotive industries.
  • PPSU has high impact strength and chemical resistance while also being able to withstand steam sterilization, making it a good fit for various medical applications.
  • PEI has high mechanical strength, good electrical insulation, and good radiation and chemical resistance, making it a great choice for applications in the electronic and aerospace industries.

What is Your Budget?

High-performance polymers are more expensive than standard or engineering polymers because they are harder to manufacture and have more desirable qualities. Luckily, there are certain high-performance polymers that are more affordable than others.

PEI retains all of the desirable quality characteristics of high-performance polymers while being easily machined and fabricated, thus reducing your costs. PPSU and PSU are other affordable options with similar properties to PEI.

What Regulatory Requirements Must You Meet?

Many highly technical industries have numerous requirements that must be met. There are certain high performance polymers that will be better suited for your application based on what requirements you must meet. There are certain polymers that meet the different requirements of different industries: 

  • FDA Certifications in the Food Industry: PEEK, PDVF, PSU, and PTFE can meet these requirements.
  • ISO 10993-5 Compliance for the Medical Industry: PEEK, PPS, and PPSU meet these requirements.
  • FAA Regulations for the Aerospace Industry: PEI and PEEK meet these requirements.
  • ISO 23936-1 Compliance for the Oil and Gas Industries: PEEK meets these requirements.
  • SEMI F57 Compliance for the Chemical Industry: PPS meets these requirements.
  • FDA Compliance for the Pharmaceutical Industry: PVDF meets these requirements.

It is always recommended to check the requirements of your industries and ensure that the products and materials offered by your polymer suppliers and manufacturers meet said requirements.

Ensinger Precision Components Can Help You Find the Right Types of High-Performance Polymers

At Ensinger Precision Components, we have been providing our customers with high-performance polymers and various fabrication services since 1934. From injection molding to engineering to tooling transfer services, we can help you. We carry a wide range of polymers, from plastic stock shapes to engineering resins, we have all of the materials you may need to complete your plastic project.

Contact our team to learn more about what we can do for you.