6 New Plastics For Cars, Electronics & Medical Devices
This is a smaller crop of new plastics than last time, and also a more focused one. They’re nearly all aimed at cars, electronics, and electrical components, plus medical devices, medical tool sterilization and cleaning, or pharmaceutical production.
One of them isn’t actually new, but it’s making possible a revolutionary application. That’s the all-plastic Polimotor 2 race engine being built by legendary automotive innovator Matti Holtzberg, which we’ve told you about. Solvay is a leading materials sponsor for the project, and up to 10 of the engine’s parts will be made of its materials.
Perhaps the most impressive of the new crop is igus’ iglide HSD350, a new self-lubricating bearing material that’s tougher than metal bearings. It resists moisture, steam, and pressure, and has superior temperature resistance: it can withstand continuous temperatures of 356F and temporary exposure to temperatures as high as 410F. All this is needed in cleaning and sterilizing medical tools, where the high pressure and heat of steam sterilization and autoclaving can damage metals.
Royal DSM’s new Arnitel HT (high-temperature) thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) replaces plastics-rubber and metal-rubber designs in flexible hot-charge air ducts for turbocharged advanced gasoline and diesel engines. This new grade of the company’s thermoplastic copolyester (TPC) elastomer withstands continuous operating temperatures of up to 180C and peaks of up to 190C. It combines elasticity with mechanical strength, along with resistance to the oils and chemicals found in automobile engine environments. Suppliers can produce the ducts in a single material using one process step, resulting in wall thicknesses that are half as thick. This also yields cost reductions of up to 50% and weight reduction of up to 40%.