Torlon is among the highest performing polymers on the market, and its unique physical properties make it a natural choice for the automotive industry. There are several reasons why this is the case, but in short, no other polymer can offer the same combination of durability and processability, which means it can be made into a wide variety of components. In the automotive industry, Torlon is in high performance vehicles, where higher levels of heat, pressure and friction are expected.
Torlon in the Automotive Industry
There are plenty of materials that can improve performance to vehicles, but Torlon occupies a unique spot that makes it a first choice when performance is paramount. Specifically, it is the highest performing thermoplastic that can be melt processed, meaning extruded and injection molded. This gives processors like Drake Plastics the ability to create a full range of components for vehicles that demand a lot from their systems from small volume specialty applications to high volume highly standardized components. For example, Torlon is used in the following ways:
- Torlon 4301 – Torlon 4301 is the general purpose variety of the polymer and contains 12 percent graphite and 3 percent PTFE powder. The 4301 grade offers very low friction and wear rates, which makes it a particularly tough and durable material. Along with all other Torlon grades, known as polyamide-imides, Torlon 4301 has a combination of mechanical, chemical and thermal resistant properties that no other polymer can offer. Torlon 4301 is typically shaped into high load bearings and bushings, thrust washers and piston rings, wear pads and ball bearing retainers. Because the 4301 offers such low friction, it can operate in non-lubricated conditions, such as non-lubricated bushings built into suspensions and superchargers.
- Torlon 4275 – Torlon 4275 is similar in composition to 4301, and is used in similar applications as a result. It contains 20 percent graphite and 3 percent PTFE, and is slightly harder than 4301 and offers better wear resistance. Torlon 4275 offers increased resilience and wear resistance in high pressure and high velocity conditions over Torlon 4301. These properties lend perfectly to being incorporated in high performance engines as thrust washers, bushings and piston wear rings.
- Torlon 4435 – Torlon 4435 is notable for its extremely low wear rate, and it possesses a modulus that is even higher than the 4275. In addition to graphite and PTFE, it also contains a few other additives that improve its properties further. Its wear rate is especially useful in non-lubricated conditions, and in fact, the 4435 offers the best wear rate in non-lubricated applications. This abrasion resistance makes it a primary choice for sliding vanes, bobbins, thrust washers and piston rings.
Torlon 4301, 4275 and 4435 are resistant to abrasion, reliable in non-lubricated conditions and resilient, so it’s no surprise that they are utilized so heavily in underhood applications in high performance vehicles. It’s important to note that Torlon can be fabricated into custom parts very easily. Drake Plastics has the capacity to work with any designs its clients provide. If your goal is to maximize every last bit of output and reliability from a racing or high performance vehicle, the solution is Torlon.