Specialty polymers and resins are proprietary polymers, resins, monomers, and intermediates. They include products that are based on proprietary curing technologies or chemistries, or that are designed for specialized applications.
Types of Specialty Polymers and Resins
The GlobalSpec SpecSearch Database contains these four material types or grades: elastomer or rubber, composite material, thermoplastic, and thermoset. Each differs in terms of mechanical, physical, thermal, electrical, and optical properties. In turn, these properties determine a product’s suitability for a specific application.
- Specialty elastomers are designed for high-abrasion applications. They are used in conveyor belts, hose covers, wear seals, and parts for petroleum drilling equipment. Specialty elastomers and rubber materials are characterized by their high degree of flexibility and elasticity (high reversible elongation). They are based on chemical systems such as polyurethane, chloroprene, butyl, polybutadiene, neoprene, natural rubber or isoprene, and other synthetic rubber or compounds.
- Specialty composites are designed for applications such as noise control, vibration damping, shock isolation, and cushioning. They are used in products such as acoustical foams, sound barriers, and molded isolators. Most specialty composites are filled with a strengthening phase, reinforcement fibers, toughening phase, or other specialty fillers that provide unique properties. These fillers include aramid fiber, carbon or graphite, fiber glass, metal, or minerals. Unfilled specialty composites are also available.
- Specialty thermoplastics are used in bioplastics, biocomposites, and some fluid-resistant applications. Because they can be repeatedly softened by heat and then hardened by cooling, specialty thermoplastics allow parts to be injection molded. Thermoformed and scrap can also be reprocessed to reuse waste materials and contain costs.
- Specialty thermosets are used both in coatings and adhesives. Products include epoxy resins and elastomer-modified epoxy resins, reactive liquid polymers, epoxy functional monomers and modifiers, and thermoset catalysts and reducers. Specialty thermosets are crosslinked polymers that are cured using heat or heat and pressure. Cured thermoset resins generally have higher resistance to heat compared to thermoplastics, but melting cannot reprocess them.
Other specialty polymers and resins are available for specific applications.
Properties of Specialty Polymers and Resins
Specialty polymers and resins exhibit properties based on their composition. Special consideration should be given to properties such use as tensile strength, use temperature, viscosity, and water absorption. The tensile strength is the maximum stress a material can withstand while being stretched or pulled before necking deformation occurs. Use temperature is the allowable temperature range in which the compound can operate effectively which determines what environments the resin can be used in. Viscosity is the measure of a compounds resistance to flow, and must be understood in order to produce, process, and use the material correctly. Water absorption is the amount of water that a material can absorb which is important for any material in contact with water or being used as a sorbent.
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Anaerobic Adhesives and Anaerobic Sealants
Anaerobic adhesives and anaerobic sealants cure in the absence of air or oxygen.
Electrical and Electronic Resins
Electrical and electronic resins includes adhesives, greases, pads, stock shapes, tapes, encapsulants, potting compounds, thermal interface materials, and electrically conductive substances used in electrical, electronics, and semiconductor applications.
Hot Melt Adhesives
Hot melt adhesives are solvent-free chemical compounds that are used to join materials. They can be repeatedly softened by heat and hardened or set by cooling, allowing parts to be removed or repositioned during assembly.
Plastic and Rubber Balls
Plastic and rubber balls are rolling, spherical elements that have low friction values and require little or no lubrication. They are lighter than metal balls and resistant corrosion and abrasion. Some plastic balls resist high temperatures, but others do not. Rubber balls are characterized by a high degree of flexibility and elasticity.
Polymers and Plastic Materials
Polymers and plastic materials are organic, synthetic or processed polymers that are supplied as raw materials. They typically consist of thermoplastic or thermosetting resins in the form of pellets, powders or liquid resins. These materials can then be molded into a variety of shapes for a wide range of uses.
Rubber Adhesives and Sealants
Rubber adhesives and sealants are highly flexible, natural or synthetic materials that are used to join components or fill gaps between seams or on surfaces.
Thermal Compounds and Thermal Interface Materials
Thermal compounds and thermal interface materials form a thermally conductive layer on a substrate, between components or within a finished product.