Vespel® polyimide is an extremely high-temperature, creep-resistant material that is often used in high-heat environments where thermoplastic materials lose their mechanical properties. Key Features: High Temperature, Wear Resistance, Creep Resistance, Long Life Applications: Test Sockets, Valve Seats, Gaskets & Seals, Semiconductor Equipment.

What Are the Properties of Vespel®?

Vespel® is made of strong, durable polyimide resin. An ideal choice for rugged applications in demanding industries, this high-performance plastic is renowned for its beneficial combination of the advantages of plastic, metal, and ceramic materials. It has a ring-shaped molecular structure with nitrogen in its construction and surpasses many thermoplastics by maintaining its mechanical properties in extreme environments.

Vespel® properties include:

  • Supremely strong, stiff material. Vespel® exhibits high mechanical strength. This and its stiffness allow the material to endure constant handling, mechanical stresses like impact, and cleaning.
  • Excellent wear resistance. With a low coefficient of friction and exceptional wear performance, Vespel® is suitable for lubricated and non-lubricated applications involving sliding contact or high interfacial temperatures.
  • Performance over a wide temperature range. Vespel® plastic possesses high dimensional stability. It maintains its performance at continuous temperatures of up to 550° F and can withstand intermittent exposure to temperatures as high as 900° F. In subzero temperatures, unlike many materials that become brittle, Vespel® material remains robust and functional in temperatures as low as -400° F.
  • Thermally and electrically insulative. Only slightly thermally and electrically conductive, Vespel® offers remarkable dielectric characteristics, making it an ideal option for applications requiring insulation against high temperatures or electricity.
  • Minimal outgassing. Vespel® releases minimal gases when exposed to high temperatures or vacuum conditions, which is why it’s approved for aerospace applications by the U.S. Air Force and organizations like NASA.
  • Full functionality at high pressure velocities (PVs). Vespel® stands out among engineered plastics for its unlubricated PV limit performance. It has the highest performance of them all, with a range of 0.29 to 3.50 MPa-m/s.
  • Optimal chemical resistance. Vespel® displays high resistance to chemicals, with no reaction when exposed to fuels, hydraulic fluids, solvents, and related substances.
  • High-purity, clean material. Vespel® contains only trace amounts of metal and experiences practically zero particulate shedding within plasma, making it a plastic with a superior level of purity.

What Are the Benefits of Vespel®?

Vespel® offers a range of advantages that make it a valuable material for applications across diverse industries. These benefits include:

  • High strength-to-weight ratio to serve as a substitute for metal
  • Prolonged operational life attributed to its durability
  • Holding tight tolerances
  • Capacity to manage substantial loads while maintaining exceptional performance and rigidity
  • Good machinability
  • Resistance to wear, creep, high temperatures and melting, chemicals, hydrolysis, and radiation
  • Flame-retardant abilities
  • Compatibility with rugged conditions like fluctuating temperatures and pressures

What Are Creep-Resistant Plastics?

Under the constant mechanical force of a static load, plastics with poor creep resistance will gradually but permanently deform, even at temperatures below their melting point. Alternately, creep-resistant plastics can withstand long-term stresses and loads without experiencing significant deformation for better, lasting, and more reliable performance over time.

As a creep-resistant plastic, Vespel® is an optimal manufacturing choice based on its ability to maintain its shape, dimensions, and overall mechanical properties even under extreme conditions. In applications where mechanical stress, high temperatures, and tight tolerances are critical, Vespel® helps maintain a product’s performance and integrity throughout its operational lifespan.

What Are Vespel® Grades?

Vespel® is available in multiple grades, each with its own strengths, to lend versatility to its applications.

Vespel® SP-1

  • Unfilled Vespel® grade
  • High strength and elongation
  • Optimal electrical properties
  • Lowest thermal conductivity
  • Lowest bendability

Vespel® SP-21

  • Contains 15% graphite by weight
  • Improved resistance to wear
  • Enhanced, lasting thermal stability

Vespel® SP-22

  • Contains 40% graphite by weight
  • High resistance against creep
  • Low thermal expansion coefficient

Vespel® SP-211

  • Contains 10% Teflon® fluorocarbon resin and 15% graphite by weight
  • Least static friction

Vespel® SP-3

  • Contains 15% molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) by weight
  • Superior resistance to wear under dry conditions

Vespel® SCP-5000

  • Excellent toughness and thermal stability
  • Ultra-pure
  • High resistance to chemicals

What Is Vespel® Used For?

Widespread industries utilize Vespel® for components critical to their applications. For example, the aerospace and automotive sectors value the material for its rugged strength, light weight, and ability to withstand harsh environments, and the semiconductor industry benefits from its insulative properties. In these markets and others, Vespel® applications include:

  • Bushings
  • Bearings
  • Rollers
  • Seals and seal rings
  • Piston rings
  • Wear strips, pads, and rings
  • Slide pads
  • Tube clamps
  • Gaskets
  • Washers and thrust washers
  • Valve disks and seats
  • Wafer guides
  • Insulators
  • Test sockets
  • Assemblies
  • Injection-molded thermoplastic components
  • Composite components
  • Glass-handling equipment parts
  • Centrifugal, water, chemical, and hydrocarbon service pumps and wear parts

Learn More About Vespel® With COMCO Plastics

Since 1956, COMCO Plastics, Inc. has used innovative, high-performance plastics like Vespel® to fabricate quality plastic parts for critical applications worldwide. We specialize in providing comprehensive manufacturing and machining services ranging from CNC milling and turning to part finishing and quality inspections, all with an emphasis on quality, on-time delivery, and competitive pricing. Contact us for more information about our capabilities and myriad material options, or request a quote today.