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Engineering Materials

Understanding chemical stability in plastic parts

Chemicals can react very aggressively with plastic parts. Whether it’s fuel, oil, exhaust gas, water glycol, battery acid, sunscreen, cleaning agents or foodstuff, many chemicals can be absorbed by or attack the polymer, causing a change in material properties.

Chemical exposure needs to be considered in every application. Even things we may not consider as “chemical” – such as sebum or water – can have strong effects on the plastic materials, depending on the temperature, concentration, and length of exposure. Accounting for chemical exposure is challenging as the material properties needed for each application vary. A structural part under the hood of a vehicle needs to retain its mechanical properties, while a soft-touch part on a handheld device needs to retain its color and haptics.

Understanding chemical stability

Chemical effects can be physical, chemical or both. These effects can include a change in dimension, staining, or irreversible chemical degradation. In certain environments where plastics are exposed to oils, the plastic needs to be stable from the oil, the degradation products of the oil/grease formulation, and any additives designed to improve the oil’s performance. This places high demands on the materials used in these challenging applications.

DSM has a full portfolio of materials that are stable against the many aggressive chemicals, and we can share extensive data on our materials and how they perform when exposed to a wide variety of chemicals to help guide customers in selecting the right material grade for their application’s specific needs.

Contact us to learn more about our approach to understanding chemical stability, and how we can help you choose an effective grade for your application.

Krijn Dijkstra

Director Advanced Engineering for DSM Engineering Materials

Published on

08 March 2019

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Krijn Dijkstra

Director Advanced Engineering for DSM Engineering Materials

Krijn Dijkstra has a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Chemical Engineering on the topic of deformation and Fracture of Nylon-Rubber Blends. He has spent his career at DSM in different functions in Research & Technology before moving to Product Management and later Global Marketing Management. His experience is predominately in the field of Automotive with a focus on Polyamides and Thermoplastic Elastomers. Currently he is Director Advanced Engineering for DSM Engineering Materials.

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