Vespel Plastic Machining

Lightweight metal substitute with thermal stability & high impact resistance

Engineers and designers know Vespel as a high-performance lightweight polyimide plastic resin, popular for substituting metal in many different applications. Its thermal stability, strength, and high-impact resistance make it a great choice for semiconductors, bearings, gaskets, insulators, and other parts.

It also holds up well during CNC machining and can achieve complex geometries without compromising the product. It can also hold tight tolerances without threatening it with stress that could result in poor product construction.

Fit for demanding applications, Vespel can hold its own against several types of corrosive chemicals while still maintaining its shape and function.

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More about Vespel Plastic Material & Machining

Key Facts about Vespel

  • High temperature resistance
  • Superior thermal stability & low coefficient of thermal expansion
  • Creep resistant
  • High wear resistance
  • Low friction coefficient
  • Great electrical insulation properties
  • Radiation resistance
  • High strength, stiffness, and dimensional stability
  • High impact resistance
  • Easily machined
  • Low outgassing
  • Great chemical resistance
Machined Vespel insulator

Properties & Characteristics

Many use Vespel as a common lightweight substitute for metal components because of its remarkable structural and mechanical properties. These, in turn, give it great qualities in strength, durability, and dimensional stability. It offers high impact resistance and creep resistance over even long term use. With excellent wear resistance and a low friction coefficient, Vespel offers reliability in applications that involve friction and need consistently smooth operation for prolonged periods. Its high durability and excellent mechanical properties make Vespel a good choice for applications in aerospace or transportation projects.

This resin also tolerates high and low temperature environments for sustained periods rather well. Due to that temperature range, many use this resin in applications that require high-temperature resistance and superior thermal stability, no matter the degree (to an extent). It keeps its strong structure with minimal expansion and contraction even at subzero temperatures — even as low as -240°C (-400°F). Vespel can endure the kinds of extreme environments such as deep space or even reactor chambers. NASA and the US Air Force have approved this material for use in their own operations because of this quality. Moreover, it generally withstands temperatures as high as 300°C (572°F) with some grades capable of sustaining at temperatures as high as 482°C (~900°F).

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Furthermore, the material holds up against intense pressure and high pressure velocities (PVs). It still retains function despite these influences with few materials existing that can meet the same PV as Vespel.

In its chemical resistance, Vespel has a great capacities against certain types. Fuels, hydraulic fluids, some solvents, and related substances have little to no effect on the resin. The same holds true for its water resistance. It shows a high resistance to water absorption and keeps its sturdy qualities without becoming compromised. However, some types of acids (high sulfuric acid, for example) could pose a threat to the product. While this stands, it generally performs well in keeping its structural integrity against typically used chemicals in aerospace, automotive, and electrical applications.

Common Vespel Applications

  • Automotive components
  • Aerospace
  • Military equipment
  • Semiconductors
  • Bearings, gaskets, and insulators