Other Resins

Besides polyesters, vinylesters and epoxies there are a number of other thermosetting resin systems that are used where their unique properties are required:

Primarily used where high fire-resistance is required, phenolics also retain their properties well at elevated temperatures. For room-temperature curing materials, corrosive acids are used which leads to unpleasant handling. The condensation nature of their curing process tends to lead to the inclusion of many voids and surface defects, and the resins tend to be brittle and do not have high mechanical properties. Typical costs: £2-4/kg.

Cyanate Esters 
Primarily used in the aerospace industry. The material's excellent dielectric properties make it very suitable for use with low dielectric fibres such as quartz for the manufacture of radomes. The material also has temperature stability up to around 200°C wet. Typical costs: £40/kg.

High toughness materials, sometimes hybridised with other resins, due to relatively low laminate mechanical properties in compression. Uses harmful isocyanates as curing agent. Typical costs: £2-8/kg

Bismaleimides (BMI) 
Primarily used in aircraft composites where operation at higher temperatures (230°C wet/250°C dry) is required. e.g. engine inlets, high-speed aircraft flight surfaces. Typical costs: >£50/kg.

Used where operation at higher temperatures than bismaleimides can stand is required (use up to 250°C wet/300°C dry). Typical applications include missile and aero-engine components. Extremely expensive resin (>£80/kg), which uses toxic raw materials in its manufacture. Polyimides also tend to be hard to process due to their condensation reaction emitting water during cure, and are relatively brittle when cured. PMR15 and LaRC160 are two of the most commonly used polyimides for composites.


Resin systems such as BMI's and Polyimides are typically used for high temperature aircraft parts.

Published courtesy of David Cripps, Gurit