The Pros and Cons of Glass-Filled Engineering Plastics

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Engineering plastics, such as nylon, can be manufactured with additives, such as glass, in order to modify some of the performance characteristics of the material. How can you decide whether your products should be made with glass-filled engineering plastics? Read on and discover the key pros and cons of glass-filled engineering plastics.

The Pros

It has superior tensile strength

Glass-filled engineering plastics have a much higher tensile strength when compared to the engineering plastics that aren't glass-filled. This makes the materials less prone to breaking due to impacts as the products are being used.

It has a lower thermal expansion rate

Another key advantage of glass-filled engineering plastic is that it expands more slowly when it is subjected to high temperatures during the use of that engineering plastic. This slow rate of expansion helps to maintain the structural stability of the product.

It also has greater stiffness.

Glass-filled engineering plastics are also less likely to distort as they are being used. This is because of their increased stiffness when compared to engineering plastics that aren't glass-filled.

Glass filling may ease machining 

Some engineering plastics, such as PTFE, may be hard to machine due to their low coefficient of friction. Glass filling such engineering plastics can help to make them easier to machine.

The Cons

It is expensive

Plain engineering plastics are usually affordable to buy. However, glass-filled engineering plastics are usually expensive. This higher cost may be due to the added step of adding glass powder to the polymer during the manufacturing process.

Electrical insulation may be reduced

You should consider whether you would like to have a product whose electrical insulation abilities are high before you specify glass-filled plastic for your products. This is because glass filling an engineering plastic often reduces the electrical insulation abilities of that component.

It is abrasive

The glass powder within the glass-filled engineering plastic increases the abrasiveness of that material. Consequently, the tools that you use to machine the material may not last as long as the tools that are used to machine engineering plastics that wasn't glass-filled.

As you can see from the discussion above, glass-filled engineering plastics have unique benefits and drawbacks. Some of their attributes are so technical that it is usually advisable to talk to an expert before you make a final decision. That expert will assess your specific requirements before outlining the specifications that should be followed when manufacturing your plastic components in the most cost-effective way available.