Sunday 11 June 2023

Sustainable Materials - Comparing the Melting Energy of High Performance Polyamides vs. Metals

Hello and welcome to another post. In today's post we compare the melting energy of high performance polyamides such as PPA (6T/6I) towards the melting energy of metals (Aluminum, brass, and others).

The big success of metal replacement with high performance polymers

In my previous posts (Example of metal replacement with engineering thermoplastics  , Metal replacement with High Performance Polymers: How to Design for Equivalent Part Stiffness? , Metal Replacement with Polyarylamide (PARA) for Single-Use Surgical Instruments ) we already discussed the advantages of metal replacement with high performance polymers. Main drivers are:

-cost and weight saving 

-possibility of consolidating several metal parts into one plastic part

-enable a better resistance to corrosion or chemical attacks. 

-improving acoustics (particularly relevant in electric vehicles) can be improved, together with an improved friction and wear of parts.

-low input of energy to transform plastics and produce parts.

The last point we deepen and discuss some interesting data on this. 

Comparison of melting energy

Figure 1 compares the melt energy of a partially-aromatic Polyamide (PPA - 6T/6I) with metals such as Aluminium, Brass, and Magnesium. Melting brass needs 283% more energy compared to melting the PPA. Aluminium ranks right behind with 105%, and Magnesium with 51%. Metal die casting parts are made by using high temperatures and producing the metal alloys needs a high amount of energy too.

Figure 1: Comparing the melting energy of metals vs. PPA [1].

This is a major drive why metal prices increased in the past six months and high performance polymers represent a low energy alternative for several industries such as automotive.  In part design, over 60% of the production costs are decided in the beginning of the design project. Comparing different materials in the material selection phase will result in a more optimal and low energy material in the end.

Thanks for reading and #findoutaboutplastics



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