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Durable plastic slides away

For moving components subject to moderately high stresses, the wear properties of common engineering plastics may have stopped your metal replacement efforts dead in their tracks. But a new, hardwearing grade of polyamide-imide (PAI) from Solvay Advanced Polymers could get things moving again.

PAI has long been known for its wear properties-as well as its heat and chemical resistance. But the new grade, TORLON 4435, contains a proprietary lubricant package that bumps the wear performance up a notch, according to Geoff Underwood, a research scientist in the company's TORLON group.

The new grade specifically targets operating environments characterized by a high-PV-a composite measurement of pressure and the moving part's velocity. Based on Solvay's tests, the 4435 grade comfortably covers a PV range from about 50,000 to 100,000 psi-ft/min. Previous TORLON grades, meanwhile, were in a range from about 25,000 to 50,000 psi-ft/min. The new TORLON is also designed to function in these high-PV environments without lubrication-though PAI has enough chemical resistance needed for the material to function as a "back-up" in lubricated systems that could lose their grease.

Solvay has tested TORLON 4435 parts across wear conditions that vary from high pressure/low velocity to low pressure/high velocity (see table). In all cases, the material showed "excellent wear resistance," Underwood reports. That did come with a trade-off in mechanical performance compared to neat PAI. Underwood cites a small-less than 10%-drop in strength properties, though it still has higher stiffness. "That's not really a concern in the applications we're going into," he says.

TORLON 4335 can be injection molded into a variety of sliding and rotating components. Some of the specific applications include bearings, bushings, seal rings, wear pads, and piston rings for everything from cars to industrial machinery.

Solvay Advanced Polymers, Enter 576

Mechanical and physical properties
Property Value Units Test method
Tensile strength, 23C 15.5 kpsi ASTM D 1708
Tensile modulus, 23C 1.4 Mpsi ASTM D 1708
Elongation % 6.0 - ASTM D 1708
Specific gravity 1.59 - ASTM D 792
Flexural modulus, 23C 2.2 Mpsi ASTM D 790
Flexural strength, 23C 22 kpsi ASTM D 790
Wear properties
PV (psi-ft/min) Velocity (ft/min) Pressure (psi) Wear factor (x10-10 in3 min/ft lb hr) Friction Coefficient
100,000 50 2,000 28 0.07
100,000 200 500 21 0.08
100,000 800 125 49 0.09

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