Polyetherimide sheet – Performance Characteristics and Applications

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Polyetherimide sheets (PEI) guarantees exceptional fire resistance along with excellent mechanical and thermal properties. The amorphous Polyetherimide sheets are suitable for high temperature applications. With properties like low levels of smoke evolution during combustion and very low flammability, they are widely used in electrical and electronic insulators. It can also resist a wide range of chemicals and offers good resistance to UV and gamma radiation.

There are several companies which utilizes the finest Polyetherimide sheets to custom fabricate components which needs long term mechanical strength and rigidity at elevated temperatures. Available either in transparent or opaque colors along with glass filled grades depending on the requirements, PEI exhibits higher levels of heat resistance, dielectric strength, chemical resistance and many more properties.

Custom sizes and colors of PEI sheets are available on request. So, what are the major performance characteristics of Polyetherimide sheets?

  • High mechanical strength and stiffness
  • Higher levels of dielectric strength
  • Excellent thermoforming properties
  • Resistance to hydrolysis during exposure to steam and hot water
  • Able to withstand repeated sterilization cycles
  • Excellent resistance to high energy radiation like UV and gamma
  • Excellent for food industry as it is physiologically inert

Because of the above mechanical, thermal and electrical properties, Polyetherimide sheets are widely used in the following applications

  • Electrical insulation parts
  • Manifolds
  • Chip test sockets
  • Medical instruments
  • Scientific equipments
  • Electrical connectors
  • Semiconductor components

Sheets and rods of Polyetherimide (PEI) are usually available in dark and glass filled formulations. It can easily maintain its strength at elevated temperatures in the range of 200 degree centigrade. For medical applications which require repeated sterilization cycles, Polyetherimide sheets are most suitable as this uniquely balanced thermoplastic can exhibit excellent mechanical properties and heat resistance. The easy to process thermoplastic material allows industries the flexibility in plastic injection molding and manufacturing.

Low moisture absorption and excellent creep resistance allows Polyetherimide sheets to possess amazing dimensional stability. When compared to other amorphous thermoplastics, the Polyetherimide resins show better resistance to stress and cracking in extremely demanding and challenging conditions. One of the key features of PEI sheets is to retain its properties even at high temperatures. Its resistance to mineral acids is simply outstanding, however it can be attacked by use of strong bases and partially halogenated solvents such as methylene chloride and trichloroethane.

Polyetherimide (PEI) is extruded to produce film, sheets, coated wire and profiles. Using solvent casting techniques, the thickness of PEI film can be around 0.25 mil. Major competitors of PEI sheets include polysulfones, polyketones, and polyphenylene sulfides.