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High-performance polymers in the spotlight

By Joy LePree |

Improvements in existing materials and the development of new ones are helping to meet the demands of challenging applications As the need for stronger, more durable and lighter-weight materials increases, the demand for high-performance plastics and polymers continues to grow. Although most of the materials in this category have been in use for a while, there is always room for improvement and new applications continually surface. For this reason, high-performance-plastics producers are exploring the use of additives and new processing techniques to provide even more advanced materials. Although the development process can be challenging, some interesting materials for existing and new applications are becoming available.   Development challenges “Even though the mechanical performance of high-performance plastics and polymers is very good and we are finding ways to make them more appropriate for use in higher temperatures, it is often tricky to find the proper balance of properties for a given application,” explains Ryan Dirkx, vice president of R&D for Arkema Inc. (King of Prussia, Pa.; www.arkemainc.com). “The real issue, when developing a new or improved material, is that when you enhance one property, you may…
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