Plastic Components for Space Flight and Defense Industries

Acrylic fluidic manifold creation at Controlled Fluidics facility in Wallingford, Connecticut

In industries defined in equal parts by mobility requirements and a lengthy list of regulations governing strength, toughness, and clarity, like defense and space flight, machined plastic parts provide the solution.

Machined plastics present excellent options for projects ranging from microfluidic delivery systems used in experiments to antennae components. They also present tough, strong, and lightweight options for projects ranging from wheels in bomb-detection machines to lightweight airplane components.

The engineers at Controlled Fluidics are comfortable with the unique requirements and regulations of both the space and defense industries, and they will recommend materials that will meet your strength, environmental, clarity, and budgetary needs.

How Machined Plastic Components
Are Used In Space Flight

bonded polycarbonate manifold

Space is an environment hostile to human life in every way, so it demands tools made exactly to specifications that can be depended on to perform. Machined plastics have traveled into space for use on the International Space Station (ISS) and other space flight projects.

The requirements for use in space include low weight, high tensile strength, nonporous materials that will not absorb moisture, and high abrasion resistance. In addition, the assurance that the components will not release particles into zero gravity makes spaceflight safer.  

Controlled Fluidics has worked on multiple space research, travel, and safety projects. These are some of the items we have made with machined plastic:  

  • In vitro diagnostic (IVD) devices.  
  • Bioreactors. 
  • Cell counters.
  • Gene sequencers. 
  • Manifolds as tools for space infrastructure and transportation services. 
  • Manifolds for rehydration operations. 

Plastics are used for vibration dampening in space modules, space stations, and satellites. Less vibration contributes to greater speed and less thermal disturbance. The reduced vibration also makes the interior more livable for astronauts. 

Plastics also assist in radiation protection. Cosmic radiation is one of the dangers of working in space. The primary material for defending against cosmic radiation used to be aluminum, but plastics provide better protective qualities. This is particularly important for astronauts who spend extended amounts of time in space. Plastics enable astronauts to stay in orbit longer and get more work done in a safer environment. 

We use 5-axis CNC machining equipment to guarantee the closest tolerances possible, endless repeatability, and versatility. Also, we utilize the latest software during design and production.

Many space flight projects need unique shapes and finishes. The 5-axis CNC machines we use have short-cutting tools to ensure precision. Timing plays a major role in plastic machining for use in space. Speedy turnaround is crucial to fulfilling those needs.

The needs in space flight are constantly changing, which requires expert engineers to handle the evolving specifications with the same precision each time. 5-axis CNC machines deliver the repeatability we require to make products for space travel.

Military-Grade Mobility Solutions for the Defense Industry

Delrin manifold with Festo valves

The Department of Defense prioritizes governing strength, toughness, and clarity in its regulations. Military-grade plastic parts provide the solution for those wanting to ensure that their project passes these regulations. Our machined plastics are tough, strong, and lightweight, perfect for applications that must survive extreme operating environments.

Should You Choose CNC Machined Plastic or Metal Components for a Space Flight or Defense Project?

Many components for the space and defense industries are metallic, but machined plastic is taking the place of some items that used to be made of metal. These are some of the benefits of using CNC machined plastics instead of metal:

  • Plastics are easily customizable. 
  • There are many plastics to choose from depending on the client’s needs.   
  • Plastics are more lightweight than metal, saving money on fuel. Machined plastics can be as much as 1/7th the weight of most metals and about half that of aluminum. 
  • Plastics offer tighter aerodynamics than metal components.   
  • Plastics can cover more bases at once than metal, such as having high tensile strength while being lightweight.   
  • Plastics are generally cost-effective.   
  • Plastics can be safer than metals with low to no conductivity. 
  • Plastic components can withstand impact without cracking, making them suitable for windows and cockpits. 
  • Plastics have high corrosion resistance, preventing the component from shedding hazardous particles in low and zero-gravity environments.   
  • Plastics usually require fewer stages of preparation, making them efficient to produce. For example, many metal parts need to be painted after manufacturing. Plastics can be infused with color while being manufactured for easy color-coding without the color fading or the paint wearing away.
  • Self-lubricating plastics are a solution for areas that are difficult to keep lubricated due to the shape of the location.   
  • 5-axis machined plastic has more accurate results than plastic extrusion or molding, which is perfect for space travel and has no margin of error. 
  • The durability of machined plastic gives it superior longevity because astronauts and pilots can’t afford to have the component fail while in use. 

Durable and Reliable Plastic Materials for Every Space Flight and Defense Project

We offer a complete selection of materials well-suited for your defense or space industry projects. Some of the most popular ones are listed below. These materials - each with the strength, clarity, and toughness properties necessary to produce a durable, reliable component - offer solutions for projects that must meet technical regulations.

Best Materials for Defense Projects:

Best Materials for Space Flight Projects:

Need help narrowing down your options? Contact our highly-experienced engineers, and we’ll help you select the best choice for your specific project. We also assist with design and prototyping, ensuring quality from beginning to end.

We are ISO 9001:2015 registered and adhere to the following standards: 


ANSI/NCSL Z 540-1-1994 

A copy of our ISO registration letter is available upon request.