Electrical Power &
Because there are so many different types available, plastics materials are ideal for use in electrical and electronic applications. Plastics can withstand high voltages and high temperatures without degradation. The insulating properties of plastics are well-known, but some materials are available which are surface- or volume-conductive. Composite materials combine properties to make ideal components with mechanical strength, high dielectric constants, and other important characteristics.
The paragraphs below describe specific materials and their uses in this industry . . .
(see also ESD Static Dissipative & Conductive materials)
- Celazole® PBI (PolyBenzImidazole)
Celazole ® offers excellent dimensional stability and strength at the highest sustained temperatures of any plastics -- up to 750°F, with excursions possible up to 1000°F. Celazole ® also has very low levels of ionic impurities, making it safe for use in applications where purity is of great importance.
- DuPont Vespel® (Polyimide)
DuPont Vespel ® polyimide material provides a unique combination of strength, toughness, wear resistance, chemical stability at temperatures up to 550°F. It is used for high temperature electrode insulators, housings, coil bobbins, and test sockets.
- DuPont Kapton® (Polyimide Film)
DuPont Kapton® polyimide film is a high performance polymer which combines excellent physical, electrical, and mechanical properties at temperatures as low as -452°F (-269°C) and as high as +752°F (+400°C). It is typically orange and transparent in appearance. DuPont Kapton® offers excellent dimensional stability combined with excellent chemical resistance -- there are no known solvents. It is typically used for wire and cable tapes, formed coil insulation, flexible printed circuit board substrates, and magnet wire, transformer and capacitor insulation.
- PTFE (PolyTetraFluoroEthylene)
PTFE high chemical resistance, low and high temperature capability, resistance to most chemicals (including strong acids and bases), low friction, electrical and thermal insulation, and "slipperiness". PTFE lacks mechanical strength in some configurations, so it is typically used for seals, gaskets, fittings, and non-loaded parts.
- PEEK (PolyEtherEtherKetone)
PEEK offers exceptional chemical resistance combined with heat resistance to 480°F. It does not degrade with exposure to water or steam, and is flame- and radiation-resistant. Glass and carbon-fiber reinforced grades are also available for improved dimensional stability, stiffness, compressive strength, and heat dissipation. Because of these properties, PEEK is often used as mechanical support, insulators, and connector bodies in harsh environments. This material is available in sheet, rod and tube forms. NOTE: Boedeker Plastics now carries Virgin PEEK 450G Tube Stock.
- Torlon® PAI (PolyAmide-Imide)
Torlon® has high dielectric properties and low thermal expansion, and is much less expensive than some advanced polymers. It is also available in glass and carbon-filled versions to enhance its already excellent characteristics. Because of its wide temperature range and dimensional stability, Torlon® is ideal for insulators, sockets, coil bobbins, test fixtures and other electronic parts.
- G-10 and G-11 (Glass Cloth / Epoxy Resin) Phenolics
G-10 and G-11 glass-epoxy laminates are specified for their extremely high strength and high dimensional stability over temperature. G-10 and G-11 are used for terminal boards, high humidity applications, electrical and electronic test equipment and electric rotor insulation. G-10 is slightly stronger while G-11 is a better insulator and can take higher temperatures. FR-4 is a fire-retardant G-10 glass-epoxy laminate that is used primarily in the printed circuit board industry.
- Paper-, Canvas-, and Linen-Based Phenolics
A variety of grades are available which have different levels of mechanical and electrical properties (i.e., dielectric strengths). These materials are are available in a variety of sheet, rod, and tube sizes. Phenolics are are excellent choices for intricate punch parts, insulating washers, spacers, terminal boards, switch bases, and other electrical components.
- Rexolite® Cross-Linked Polystyrene
Rexolite® is a unique cross-linked polystyrene, microwave plastic. This material's most notable properties are it's unusually stable electrical properties into the Giga-hertz frequency range. It is also optically clear (approximately the same as Acrylic), dimensionally stable, and excellent sound transmission characteristics. It is often specified for use in microwave, radar, and other high-frequency applications.
- Mylar® (Polyester Film)
Mylar® polyester film retains may be used at temperatures from -418°F to +392°F (-250°C to +200°C). It has excellent chemical & oil resistance, is available in a variety of thicknesses and grades, and is typically transparent. Mylar® is an excellent insulator and is commonly used as wire or circuit board insulation, flex circuits, membrane switches, and coil winding insulation.
- Durostone® (FRP)
Durostone ® materials are designed and typically recommended for use in manufacturing solder pallets for wave-solder applications of printed circuit boards (PCB's). These materials can also be used for carriers in solder paste printing, SMT placement, IR-reflow, and conformal coating operations.
Some instrument housings or containers require glass-like transparency, UV resistance, and excellent impact resistance. With these material parameters, polycarbonate is sometimes the only suitable material, especially, where components must be machined to close tolerances. Polycarbonate also meets UL94 V-O requirements for flame retardance.
- UHMW-PE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene)
Polyethylene uses range from standard wear applications to complicated insulators and other products. Its low weight, low water absorption, and high impact strength make it an excellent choice for demanding environments, including outdoors and underwater.
ABS is a general purpose amorphous thermoplastic, providing good impact strength, toughness, stiffness, and good chemical resistance. ABS is often used for enclosures, standoffs, housings, and prototypes since it is easily machined and is cost effective.