Chemical resistant plastics are often called for in many engineering applications such as custom parts and fasteners. These include screws, bolts and hex nuts. Not all plastics will hold up well in extreme environments. You should always do testing to ensure that you make the right material for your specific application. But there are certain plastics that tend to hold up well in chemically harsh environments.
When considering a chemical resistant plastic, check which industries commonly use the material. Certain industries have a high demand for chemically inert materials. These include the semi-conductor processing equipment, medical, food processing, and chemical processing industries We would like to to guide you in the right direction. Thus we’ve put together a list of the top four commonly used chemically resistant plastics. And the winners are…
1.) Kynar® (PVDF)
PVDF resins have excellent resistance to temperature, harsh chemicals and nuclear radiation. They are used in the power, renewable energies, and chemical processing industries. Also it is used in the pharmaceutical, medical, food & beverage and semi-conductor industries for its high purity. And PVDF is available in multiple forms. PVDF is also one of the most popular chemical resistant plastics in the mining, plating and metal preparation industries. This popularity is due to PVDF’s resistance to hot acids in a wide range of acid strengths. PVDF is also used in the auto and architectural markets for its chemical resistance and excellent resistance to UV degradation and extreme weather conditions.
PEEK has superior strength and chemical inertness. Thus it is one of the best chemically resistant plastics for medical implants and orthopedic surgery. PEEK exhibits excellent mechanical and thermal properties, as well as creep resistance at high temperatures, very low flammability, hydrolysis resistance, and radiation resistance. These properties make PEEK a preferred product in the aerospace, automotive, telephonic, and chemical processing industries. PEEK is used for wear and load bearing applications such as valve seats, pump gears, and compressor valve plates.
Due to its wide use as indoor and in-ground wastewater piping, thousands and thousands of tons of PVC are produced every year, making PVC the third most produced plastic. PVC is used in construction as it’s more effective than traditional materials such as copper, iron, or wood.
PVC can be made softer and more pliable with the addition of plasticizers. In this form, it is used in clothing, rugs and furniture. PVC’s status as a chemical resistant plastic makes it an ideal material for window and door frames, insulating electric cables, outdoor signs, sports equipment, medical tubing, for floors, green houses, and outdoor playgrounds.
For those of you with an eye for trivia, a fun fact is that one of PVC’s early uses was in vinyl records. PVC has good flexibility, is flame retardant, and has good thermal stability, a high gloss, and low (to no) lead content. Polyvinylchloride molding materials can be extruded, injection molded, compression molded, and blow molded to form a huge variety of products.
CPVC resin is made by the chlorination of PVC resin and is used mostly to produce piping. CPVC shares many properties with PVC, including low conductivity and excellent corrosion resistance at room temperatures. The extra chlorine in its structure also makes it more resistant to corrosion than PVC. Whereas PVC begins to soften at temperatures over 140°F, CPVC is useful to temperatures of 180°F. Like PVC, CPVC is fire-retardant. CPVC can be easily worked. It can be used in hot water pipes, chlorine pipes, sulfuric acid pipes, and high-pressure electric cable sheaths.