Solvay’s Torlon PAI Enables Durable, Safe Tools for Cleaning Composites

13 March 2019

Solvay’s Torlon PAI Enables Durable, Safe Tools for Cleaning Composites

Solvay announced that Performance Plastics chose Torlon PAI for its expanded line of EnduroSharp Scraper Blades.

Designed to remove tough materials from delicate fibre-reinforced composite surfaces, the latest additions to Performance Plastics’ portfolio include gap blades, gap filler removal bits and discs, as well as adhesive cutters and reamers. All of the new EnduroSharp products are moulded from Solvay’s high-performance Torlon 5030 polyamide-imide (PAI), a 30-percent glass fibre-reinforced resin.

“The task of removing gap materials, sealants and adhesives from aircraft surfaces once forced maintenance technicians to choose between potentially harmful metal blades and polymer tools that could not hold their edge for long,” said Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Performance Plastics. “The unique properties of Solvay’s Torlon PAI balances the best of both materials. It can be sharpened and hold an edge like metal, but it will not damage delicate composite surfaces.”

With other scraper blades manufactured from high-performance polymers, such as polyetherimide (PEI) and polyetheretherketone (PEEK), sharpened cutting edges are machined on to the moulded blanks in a secondary process. The comparatively high processability of Torlon PAI resin, however, enables EnduroSharp blades to deliver a sharp edge right out of the mould. Yet, the material can still be machined to create specialised designs. Torlon PAI’s outstanding thermal stability further enables it to withstand the high heat and friction of resharpening, which can produce burrs on blades machined from PEEK and PEI. Additionally, Torlon PAI is highly resistant to aerospace fluids and solvents, which helps ensure EnduroSharp tools deliver a long working life.

The recently launched EnduroSharp blade handles, adaptors and inserts enable aerospace maintenance professionals to safely remove elastomeric coatings, boots, tapes, sealants, adhesives, gap fillers and tape residue from fibre-reinforced composite, plastic, glass, ceramic or metal substrates and fasteners. The EnduroSharp blades can also be used in conjunction with heat- or chemically assisted skiving processes to expedite material removal.

“Torlon PAI is recognised as a material that combines the performance of a thermoset with the processability of thermoplastic, but in Performance Plastics’ hands it further offers the durably sharp edge of a metal blade,” said Doug Brademeyer, Senior Vice President and Head of the Ultra Polymers Business for Solvay’s Specialty Polymers global business unit. “The level of innovation and processing skill behind their EnduroSharp tools is an inspiring reminder of what high-performance polymers can achieve.”

Photo provided by Solvay

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