A fluoropolymer is one of the growing number of fluorocarbon-based polymers. They are widely used in healthcare applications due to their biocompatibility, lubricity, sterilizability, chemical inertness, thermal stability, barrier properties and high purity. However, when compared with other resins, they are significantly more expensive and require special techniques to injection mold due to their shear sensitivity, high melt temperatures, and fluorine outgassing when melted.

Although the best-known fluoropolymer, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE or Teflon®), has been on the market since the 1940s, newer resins have been developed to address specific injection molding niches. Perfluoroalkoxy polymer (PFA) and fluorinated ethylene-propylene (FEP plastic) are among the most recent additions to the list of fluoropolymer options.

PFA was developed in order to create a true melt-processable fluoropolymer. It provides the smoothest and least wettable finish of all of the fluoropolymers. Its optical transparency, chemical inertness, and overall flexibility have made it popular for use in lab equipment. It also has superior electrical properties, with dielectric strength that’s three to four times greater than PTFE can offer.

Like PFA, FEP is melt-processable and injection moldable. Its melting point of 260 °C (500 °F) is about 40 degrees lower than PFA’s.  It offers low friction and chemical inertness properties comparable to PTFE’s. However, it is completely transparent. Because FEP is highly resistant to sunlight, it is especially useful for molding parts that are subjected to weathering.

However, not all injection molders are equipped to work with fluoropolymers like PFA and FEP. Performance Plastics LTD. has developed a variety of tools and procedures to address the challenges involved in molding these materials. For example, our solution includes a hot runner system and mold designed to minimize the shear forces inherent in the injection molding process. We use proprietary metallurgy that’s highly resistant to fluorine gas corrosion, which helps extend the working life of the hot runner system, tooling and other components that make contact with the melted resin. We’ve also developed a direct-gating, multi-runner approach to tool design that eliminates the sprue and runner used in traditional injection molding. By eliminating the wasted material associated with the sprue and runner, Performance Plastics has been able to pass along material cost savings of from 20% to 40% by using these expensive resins more economically.

To learn more about how we can cut your resin costs while helping you take advantage of the unique properties PFA and FEP offer, visit our contact page or contact Rich Reed, our vice president of sales and marketing, at (513) 321-8404 or RReed@performanceplastics.com.

Look in any aircraft mechanic’s big red rolling toolbox and you might see a few items that aren’t offered in any toolmaker’s catalog or tool vendor’s truck. Somewhere in there, you’ll probably find a sharpened putty knife, scribe, or utility blade that the mechanic uses to remove gap materials, sealants and adhesives from aircraft substrates and fasteners. Although tools designed for these tasks made of acrylic, polycarbonate and fiber-reinforced plastics are available, they are typically too soft to hold an effective edge for long, and soon end up in the back of the bottom drawer, rarely to be seen (or used) again.

There are two basic problems with these two options. The first is that they simply don’t work very well and require a lot of muscle (and time) to use. The second is that the ones made of metal greatly increase the risk of damaging many aircraft substrates.

EnduroSharp Torlon Aerospace Maintenance Tools

EnduroSharp Torlon Aerospace Maintenance Tools

Essentially, what aircraft mechanics need for these jobs are tools that are hard enough to hold an edge and that can be resharpened readily but which won’t damage the underlying surface. To develop these new kind of tools, the experts at Performance Plastics partnered with high-performance polymer supplier Solvay Specialty Polymers, the Air Force Research Laboratory, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Systems Support Division (AFRL/RXS) and the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI).

EnduroSharp™ aircraft maintenance tools are molded from high-performance Torlon® polyamide-imide (PAI) resin. This tough injection-molding resin offers a variety of advantages over engineering polymers like polyetherimide (PEI) and polyetheretherketone (PEEK), which Performance Plastics also considered during the development of the tools.

Parts made from PEI and PEEK must be machined out of molded blanks to produce a sharp edge. In contrast, the Torlon resin is highly processible, so Performance Plastics’ blades have a sharp edge right out of the mold, eliminating the time, cost and material waste involved in machining. However, when necessary, Torlon resin can be machined to create specialized designs, such as the blades that include a gap to scrape around fasteners. Its thermoset-like properties also allow it to withstand the high heat and friction of resharpening, which can produce burrs on blades molded from PEEK and PEI polymers. Because they are stiffer than PEEK and PEI tools, they can maintain a superior cutting edge far longer and allow for faster material removal. Torlon tools are also heat resistant to 500°F (260°C) and are highly chemical resistant to standard aerospace fluids and solvents, which ensures longer working life.

Because they can prevent the kind of damage to metallic and nonmetallic components or substrates that improvised metal tools can cause, EnduroSharp tools are approved for use on U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy military aerospace systems. Depending on the tool used, they are well suited for removing elastomeric coatings, boots, tapes, sealants, adhesives, gap fillers and tape residue from fiber-reinforced composite, plastic, glass, ceramic or metal substrates and fasteners safely remove. To remove material faster, the blades can also be used with heat- or chemical-assisted skiving processes, in which materials are carefully removed one thin layer at a time.

Performance Plastics created the patented EnduroSharp™ line of Torlon® Aircraft Maintenance Tools to hold a superior edge and are extremely durable for removing sealants, adhesives, and coatings.

For more information and to see EnduroSharp tools in action, visit the EnduroSharp section of Performance Plastics’ website or watch the YouTube EnduroSharp Demo.

high performance plastics market


The global high performance plastics market has a large number of end-use segments, as the need for strong manufacturing materials is being felt in several sectors. The automotive industry and the consumer goods industry are two of the leading application segments of the high performance plastics market.

Global Automotive Air Intake Manifold Market to Witness Soaring Growth During 2017 – 2027

High Performance Plastics Market Globally Expected to Drive Growth Through 2024

Plastic Compounding Market | Estimated to witness significant growth due to their demand in Automotive and Construction