It seems like nearly everyday we hear about a new breakthrough advancement in plastics materials. From biodegradable to new engineering plastics and more. Why I just recently posted one on our Facebook about a new invention that is being called OLED (https://www.facebook.com/AINPlastics). These new products and materials have features we couldn’t even imagine 10 years ago. So how do you know when you need to use certain products and when could you maybe use something a little less costly?
In this blog post, I wanted to take a look at one product in particular that we’ve talked about before; DuPont™ Vespel®. There has been a lot written and said about DuPont™ Vespel® and it’s with good reason. It’s been around for a long time (Since the early 1960’s) and the DuPont™ Vespel® product line offers some pretty unique features. But it’s also not the most inexpensive to purchase so we’ve created an easy top 10 list of things to consider when making product selection and considering whether or not Vespel® is right for your application…
The Top 10 Things to Consider when Thinking About Whether or not DuPont™ Vespel® Is the Right Material for Your Application:
1. When you have a critical application such as aerospace or military where DuPont™ Vespel® may be the ASTM specified product. (See our post “When Saving a Little can Cost you a Lot”). If it is specified you can stop reading here. You’ll want to be sure you follow the standard.
2. When you want a plastic material that will hold up in a high temperature environment and not lose it’s properties. DuPont™ Vespel® SP-1 and SCP-5000 can operate in temperatures up to 550° F with excursions up to 900° F! In fact, SP-1doesn’t even have a melting point. Gheesh, I’m melting in our Michigan weather this summer, but as hot as it is here, we aren’t even close to those temps!
3. When you have a high load application such as a bearing.
4. When you are looking for weight savings DuPont™ Vespel® can be an excellent alternative to metals such as aluminum or metallic alloys, or ceramics. It’s properties may even exceed that of metal and ceramic.
5. When you are working in a critical testing environment and need a low outgassing product.
6. When you need a long-lasting material. Low friction and high stability along with heat and wear resistance mean your parts last longer and require less maintenance.
7. Variety. In the “S” product line alone DuPont™ has over 10 products to choose from. This can help to save money as you don’t always have to get all the bells and whistles, but instead get a product that fits your specific application needs.
8. An easy to machine alternative to ceramic. VDuPont™ Vespel® has electrical insulative properties like ceramic, but the ease of machining using standard machining techniques means it can cost less to fabricate Vespel than it does ceramic. This is especially true for design that include details like under cuts, holes, or threads. Vespel is also tougher than ceramic and it can take high impact.
9. When lubrication may not be viable or when you need a low wearing material that can withstand poor tolerances or when you need low friction to improve efficiency. DuPont™ Vespel® Bearing Grade SC and SCP possess some of the highest unlubricated pressure-velocity limits among engineering plastics.
10. When you need a plastic with high chemical resistance, or that will work well under hard vacuum, radiation, oxygen compatibility, cryogenic conditions, and exposure to flame.
Common Uses for DuPont™ Vespel®
Now that we have 10 considerations did you want to know what DuPont™ Vespel® is being used in? OK, we pretty much mentioned aerospace and military. But beyond that you can find Vespel in snowmobiles, ATV’s, farm equipment, and semiconductors. Since 1964 Vespel has been used in transmissions, small motors, brake pad assemblies, seal rings, valve seats, bushings, washers, thrust plugs, anti-lock break systems, fuel systems, turbo chargers, vacuum pumps, door hinge bushings, belt tensioners, gear stick rollers, rubbing blocks,wheel disc nuts, steering and air conditioning systems, suspension systems, intake and exhaust systems, piston rings. Handling of hot glass in manufacturing of bottles and hot runner systems in plastic packaging manufacturing are two more! In other words it’s pretty tried and true in a lot of applications. It may not be right for yours, but to find out see how many of your needs are in the top 10. After that if you need more detail on specific DuPont™ Vespel® products, take a look at the following links. They will take you to product technical data for each DuPont™ Vespel® material. If you don’t have the time to do all that comparing, give us a call and ask one of our people. We can help you determine if Vespel is right for you, and if so, which one fits your application best.
New Video Coming Soon!
Just a heads up…we’ve got a new video coming soon. Above we mentioned Vespel machines easily and in our video we will show just how easily DuPont™ Vespel® machines and we will offer some tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years that can help you get the best out of these materials.
Until Next Time!
ThyssenKrupp Materials NA
AIN Plastics Division