Thermosets are insoluble, polymer-based materials with high-temperature melting points. Typically possessing superior strength compared to that of thermoplastics, thermoset materials undergo a chemical reaction at a certain temperature and reach a solid state upon curing. From that point on, the properties of these synthetic composites are “set,” resulting in materials that are unlikely to deform or degrade.

Thermosets have a strong structure of interconnected molecules; upon heating, these molecules develop irreversible bonds. Should you reheat thermoset plastics, they will char or burn rather than melt or take on their original characteristics. While this prevents remolding, it lends a high degree of mechanical strength to components with thermoset construction. Learn more about these materials, their properties, and potential applications.

Thermoset Materials

When selecting the right thermoset composite materials for your project, there are multiple high-performance options to choose from. Common examples of thermosetting materials include the use of the following:

Resin

  • Phenolic
  • Epoxy
  • Melamine
  • Polyester
  • Polyurethane
  • Silicone

Substrates

  • Paper
  • Canvas
  • Linen
  • Fiberglass
  • Aramid

Thermoset Properties

Thermoset materials have many advantageous properties that make them ideal for widespread applications. These properties include:

  • Superior mechanical strength. Thermosetting plastic materials typically feature enhanced mechanical properties. Their beneficial stiffness along with their high compressive and tensile strength lend these materials to applications requiring load-bearing or structural components.
  • Lasting dimensional stability. Thermosets retain a consistent size and shape after curing, keeping them dimensionally stable for use in applications necessitating precise manufacturing and engineering.
  • Resistance to high temperatures. One of the main benefits of thermoset plastics is their thermal resistance capabilities under high temperature exposure. They won’t soften or otherwise deform, which is particularly helpful for electronic and automotive applications that experience high heat.
  • Resistance to chemicals. Thermoset plastic materials often possess high chemical resistance, allowing them to withstand corrosion even when they come into direct contact with such substances.
  • Being electrically insulative. Many electrical applications use these materials to provide sufficient component insulation and protection. They help prevent arcing and keep the flow of electrical current from where it’s not intended to be. In applications like power lines and transformers, thermosets can reduce the risk of fires.

Applications of Thermoset Materials

Thermoset materials have a wide range of applications across diverse industries. Some common examples include the following:

  • Aerospace. Lighter air- and spacecraft perform better and use less fuel. Lightweight yet strong, thermosets are an optimal choice for manufacturing aerospace components.
  • Automotive. Brake pads, engine parts, and exterior chassis components often utilize thermoset materials because of their superior durability and ability to withstand high temperatures.
  • Construction. Adhesives, coatings, and composite reinforcements are among the different types of construction materials made with thermoset plastics. These applications benefit from the durable materials’ resistance to corrosive chemicals and heat.
  • Electronics. Electronic circuits and parts rely on thermoset materials for protection and insulation, keeping equipment consistently safe from moisture and heat buildup.
  • Healthcare. Thermoset materials are typically biocompatible, making lasting medical implants and devices that won’t react when they come into contact with the human body.
  • Sports equipment. Anything from bicycle frames to golf clubs can benefit from thermoset plastics’ good strength-to-weight ratio and wear resistance.

Thermoset Materials and Components From WS Hampshire

The right thermoset material will offer high-quality fabrication solutions for your product, resisting heat, chemical corrosion, and general wear. At WS Hampshire, we specialize in the custom fabrication of Ryertex Thermosets and Timco Technical Thermoplastics for industrial applications. Our Ryertex brand of thermosets consists of multiple fiber-reinforced plastic composite options. Since their introduction in the 1930s, these materials have been particularly helpful as electrical insulators and in high-temperature, -speed, or -load applications as an alternative to metal components for resisting wear.

Since the 1890s, WS Hampshire has combined innovative and reliable non-metallic materials, our team’s technical expertise, and a suite of comprehensive services to deliver valuable solutions and high-quality components to our customers. It’s our goal to help you reduce operational downtime and costs. Contact us today to learn more about our thermoset material options and our production capabilities for supporting your unique operation.

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