SABIC Innovative Plastics unveiled the new leading-edge Ultem composite, fiber and foam technologies at NPE 2009 which it says will fulfill new levels of extreme performance. The new materials build on the company's hugely successful Ultem polyetherimide (PEI) resin, an industry-renowned workhorse thermoplastic for the most demanding and high-heat resistant applications. The target applications for these materials include flame retardant fabrics, ultra-lightweight aircraft interiors, state-of-the art radomes and communications equipment, among many others. SABIC
According to the company, the Ultem composites will help to reduce weight and cost by replacing metals without sacrificing performance while offering temperature and impact performance, particularly in aerospace, electronics and ballistics applications. By attaching fabric made with Ultem fiber and other materials to an Ultem foam or honeycomb core, unique composites can be created for the design flexibility, low-cost manufacturing, and long-term performance needed to address specific application requirements, the company notes. These composite-based materials are also said to provide exceptional flame-smoke-toxicity (FST) performance, low-moisture uptake, thermoformability, and strength retention enabling the composite systems to deliver light-weight performance to eliminate the use of aluminum and thermosets that require long cure cycles.
Further, Ultem fiber meets the safety and performance requirements for home furnishings, including mattresses, specialty high-temperature filtration media, and protective clothing for military, emergency response and sports applications, in addition to transportation applications. The fiber delivers inherent FST performance without the use of halogens or other flame retardant additives, as well as resistance to extremely high temperatures, chemicals and ultraviolet (UV) light, the company adds. The company asserts that the use of Ultem foam can deliver impressive weight savings, coupled with high-class FST and high-temperature performance of Ultem resin for aircraft interior and exterior components. Ultem foam is said to be up to 20-times lighter than Ultem resin. In addition, this thermoformable, rigid foam with a uniform cell structure is said to be ideal as the structural core in multi-layer systems.