When choosing a heat resistant plastic, it is important to pick the best material for the job required in order to avoid costly damages. More and more, these high temperature plastics are taking the stage because they are light, versatile alternatives to metal, ceramics and older-generation polymers. Some plastics have permanent operating temperatures of more than 150° C and often use special reinforcing materials, such as glass fiber, glass beads or carbon fiber, to increase heat distortion resistance and rigidity. Adding PTFE, graphite and aramid fibers considerably improves sliding friction characteristics while the addition of metal fibers and carbon provides improved electrical conductivity.

But how do these high temp plastics compare to other types of materials? Ceramics are extremely strong, showing considerable stiffness under compression and bending. One of the strongest ceramics has a bend strength similar to steel and can retain strength up to 900° C. However, these materials are brittle and may break when dropped or undergo sudden temperature changes. Ceramics are also resistant to corrosion in harsh environments but have lower electrical and thermal conductivity. Metals also have high mechanical strength and better electrical and thermal conductivity than ceramics. Metals can also be deformed or cut into new shapes without breaking, but they are vulnerable to corrosion.

Let’s take a look at the four most popular heat resistant plastic materials:

1. Vespel ®

Without a doubt Vespel ® can take the heat. This non-melting polyimide can withstand repeated heating up to 300° C without altering its thermal or mechanical properties, making it a popular choice for jet engines, industrial machinery, cars, trucks, and other vehicles.

Depending on the filler material (Unfilled, 15% Graphite, 40% Graphite, 10% PTFE and 15% Graphite, or 15% Moly), Vespel ® can withstand 350 hours of 398° C heat, losing only 50% of its initial tensile strength: 12,500 psi (unfilled base resin) reduces to 6,000 psi. This loss is due almost entirely to oxidative degradation.  The parts will perform in inert environments, such as nitrogen or vacuum, with negligible loss of properties over time.

2. Torlon®

Torlon®, a polyamide-imide, offers Nylon 6/6’s room temperature properties at 204° C, with exceptional long-term strength and stiffness up to a continuous 260° C.  Torlon® is an effective alternative to metal in high temperature friction and wear applications. It has outstanding resistance to wear, creep, and chemicals, including strong acids and most organic chemicals, and is ideally suited for severe service environments. Torlon is typically used to make aircraft hardware and fasteners, mechanical and structural components, transmission and powertrain components, as well as coatings, composites, and additives.

3. Ryton ®

Also known as Polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), this organic polymer can be molded, extruded or machined to high tolerances with a maximum service temperature of 218° C. It has not been found to dissolve in any solvent at temperatures below about 200° C. Along with Vespel, Ryton® PPS compounds have a UL 94 V-0 flammability rating without any flame retardant additives, meaning burning stops within 10 seconds on a vertical specimen.

4. Noryl

A blend of polyphenylene oxide (PPO) and polystyrene (PS), Noryl is a rare example of a homogeneous mixture of two polymers.  The inclusion of PS increases the glass transition temperature above 100° C, making Noryl stable in boiling water.

Noryl has a maximum service temperature of 105° C and a melting point of 154° C. These properties make it useful in the production of solar panels, because solar panels in the summer only reach 45° C. It also has unusually low water absorption, with values as low as .07%, making it an excellent electrical insulating material.

Heat Resistant Plastics Material Properties
Plastic
Tensile strength
at 26° C
Flexural strength
at 26° C
Max service
temperature
Melting Point
Vespel
8,750 psi
16,000 psi
300° C
none
Torlon
27,847 psi
35,390 psi
260° C
none
Ryton
21,755 psi
25,800 psi
218° C
none
Noryl
9,200 psi
7,400 psi
105° C
154° C

Did I miss your favorite temperature resistant plastic?  Please share in the comment section below.

Interested to learn more about the heat resistance of specific plastics? Check out our High Performance Material Guide.

55 responses to “Don’t Sweat It! These 4 High Temp Plastics Can Take the Heat

  1. We don’t deal in sheet material. I’m going to refer you to the AIN Plastics website – they are very familiar with sheet product and temperature properties of many plastic options.

  2. Stephen,

    We aren’t involved with making parts that large, but to machine a piece of this size from Vespel sounds like a very expensive proposition. You would need to find a plastic machine shop able to work with a part this large to get an actual quote. Good luck!

    1. David,
      Our expertise is plastic – you need to look into rubber compound options for elasticity. I’d suggest looking up “high performance rubber” on line for some direction.

  3. Vespel, Teflon and Torlon all have maximum operating temperatures of 500 F. Your choice might depend on other needs for the part, like strength, wear, etc.

  4. Hi Team,

    I was just looking at some nylon or plastic kind of thing which can withstand a high temperature of 200 degree Celsius and will be having chemically inert to not react with my component. I’m going to use that for avoiding any metal to metal contact between my part and the stand which I’m using. of you need more information on that let me know, we will have a call anytime for more explanation about the process

    1. There are several plastics that can withstand service temperatures of 200 degrees C. Depending on your application, polycarbonate or teflon could be good candidates – and aren’t terribly expensive compared to some others. Is there a specific chemical exposure you’re concerned about?

  5. i need a plastic that can withstand around 160 degees C. it should not soften at this temperature. please suggest any material.

    1. Several plastics can perform at 160 degrees C. Torlon, Teflon, PEEK and Ultem come to mind. Your choice will likely depend on the application and what are properties are important.

  6. Hi, thank you for the post. I am looking for some plastic that can stand high temperature and it has good machinability as well as flexibility. Vespel and torlon do not look like able to be bended. I was thinking maybe POM. Would you have any suggestions?

    Thanks.

    1. David,
      I can’t completely answer your question, but I can tell you that Vespel is rated “A” for chemical resistance to Isopropyl Alcohol and carries a “B” rating for Methyl Alcohol. I would suggest checking with a supplier of Vespel material for a more definitive answer.

  7. Would like to encase an Oven with a clear plastic so patrons can view bread baking.
    Only need square sheets to cut from and with ability to screw into for heating units and assembly of ‘plastic box’.
    Does this exist and do you sell this & how?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Bill,
      We injection mold and machine small parts. You need to contact a stock shape supplier and ask about a clear, high temperature option – perhaps Quadrant would be a good place to start. Good luck!

  8. I need a clear plastic that would stand in high pressure and temperature washer around 230*F . Any suggestion?

    1. There are several options. Are there any other concerns – like strength or chemical attack? Staying away from the expensive engineering resins, you might consider Nylon at 220F maximum service temperature. High Density Polyethylene comes in at 248F, Teflon at 500F, and Lexan Polycarbonate at 475F.

      1. This may sound weird but I need an insulator to use for my smoker. Its a cheap smoker but works well until the cold wind blows. Am wanting to build a plywood box with the insulation inside. Ideas?

  9. i,m looking for a plastic that wont melt at a temp of 207c using it to clean off heater plates which have a coating on it so the plastic must also be non abrasive any ideas?

    1. Richard – I don’t know what the coating is that you refer to, but Teflon and PEEK come immediately to mind. Both have service temperatures well above your need. Good luck!

    1. Hi Jay,
      By my quick research, you could be talking about 1,000 to 2,000 degrees – depending on the type of charcoal, etc. This range would take you out of the plastic realm and into the world of ceramics. I’d suggest contacting a ceramic part manufacturer.

  10. I was wondering if any of these 4 plastics where clear as I wanted to make a part for an engine to show how the Otto cycle works with a vehicle idling or under load while stationary or it was strong enough to be fabricated to become an engine block

    1. Ultem isn’t clear, but its somewhat transparent – similar to a brown beer bottle. You might want to contact Quadrant for other ideas.

  11. hello
    we need an inert non metallic part for application of 600 degree Centigrade any suggestions?

  12. looking for plastic that is stable at 200 F minimum up to 250-300 deg F. Needs to be machineable AND able to laminate together with some form of glue,adhesive etc. Is such a plastic available

  13. Looking for a plastic material to be used for a part to withstand a continous temperature of 250 degree F. The plastic material to be suitable for use in a 3-D printer. Any suggestions?

    1. Al – There are several that can perform at that temperature. Are you looking for only one? If so, I would look into what resin options are available to 3D print. The maker of your printer should be able to assist.

  14. Is there a plastic that will not deform at >90Celsius? like nylon, PET, PP, PVC?

    And how can test? Throw it in the oven or something from the astm

    1. Tyrone,

      There are quite a few plastics with maximum service temperatures over 90 Celcius. Of those you list, PP is the highest at 100 Celcius – but that’s awfully close to what is posted as the MAXIMUM. Teflon might be a good choice. It will handle 260 Celcius, and is not as expensive as many others on the market. Keep in mind that service temperatures assume no pressure is applied to the part. Any stress will hasten deformity.

  15. I’m looking for a relatively flexible material, i.e., flexural modulus between 5 MPa and 600 MPa, that maintains (most of) its stiffness at temperatures of up to 100 C / 212 F. Any suggestions?

    Silicones are too flexible and the suggestions above (Vespel, Teflon, and Torlon) are too stiff.

  16. Hello. I am attempting to extend the housing unit of a heater core,and I would like any suggestions you may have for me to mold a heat resistent plastic around the core at a reasonable price. Thank you very much.

    1. Heather,
      How many of these units will you need? (Its difficult to justify molding for a small quantity.) Also, what is the temperature exposure?

  17. Please describe the Flexible Transparent Colourless Plastic that Allows Sunlight and Heat to Pass Through. Thanks

    1. The answer will depend on the shape and flexibility you seek. Clear PVC is used for tubing, and polycarbonate comes in sheets and can be bent.

  18. Can you please recommend any high-temp food-grade plastics that are similar to Ultem but in a different color – possibly black or dark grey opaque? Needs to withstand radiant heat from a metal plate below that can reach 250F for long periods of time. Needs to be injection-moldable and also extrudable if possible. Thank you.

  19. Hi,
    I need a kind of flexible plastic materials that tolerate about 200 degree (celsius) with very low price. Would you please help me to find this kind of plastic?

    1. Thanks for reading the Craftech Industries posts. I’m not sure what your application is, but flexibility is going to depend to a degree on the thickness you use. There are several materials that can handle 200 degrees C, but most are pretty expensive. When you site 200 degrees, do you need the part to function at that temperature, or simply not melt? This is an important question, as all materials are rated for both Service Temperature and Melting Point, and the two values are quite different. Fewer materials have that high of a service temperature.

  20. What is the plastic material used on electric griddles for the handles and the feet? The material doesn’t absorb much heat. Need to make feet for an aluminum wax melting pot which operates at 320’F 6 to 8 hours a day.

    1. Alvern – Thanks for reading the Craftech Industries’ blogs. While we don’t make these parts, so can’t be sure what plastic the manufacturer uses, a couple of good candidates for your application might be polycarbonate (Lexan) or teflon. Both have maximum melting temperature temperatures well above 320 deg. F, and are more reasonably priced than most of the other options. Good luck!

  21. We are looking for a plastic material to replace steel in our filters where temperature goes up-to 120°C and it has to deal with hydrocarbons at around 600 psi.Also it should be injection moldable.Please suggest a suitable material.

    1. Sunil – Thanks for reading the Craftech Industries’ blogs. There are several plastics which could be appropriate for you. Can you tell me which hydrocarbons the part will be exposed to?

      1. We are mainly dealing with Produced water containing tds upto 15000 ppm,Ammonia,Benzene,Toluene,No3,Chlorine,Oil,Grease etc

        1. SV – I would consider PEEK and Teflon for the application. Torlon doesn’t do so well with ammonia and chlorine.

  22. No-One Ever Commented About dope-On The Tube From 3M, Guupe That Can Handle 1382-F / 750 Degree Celsius,………. Via The Silicon Can,,,,,,,,, MEANING SGUEEZING-CAN. IT IS 3M FIREBLOCK SEALANT, THUS WHY CAN I NOT USE ON MY 3″ OUTSIDE-PIPE Sealing?

    1. Pauli – You should contact 3M for input. They will be much more knowledgeable about their own product than we could be. Good luck!

  23. I need to find a material in a sheet form that is easily shaped and can withstand the heat of High Frequency welding but not conduct electricity. We form an impeder out of the material but the material I’ve been using gets hot and warps unexpectedly and without any warning.

    It is important that it be completely non-conductive for electricity!

    Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Jason – Thanks for reading the Craftech Industrie’s blogs. What is the heat exposure, and what material is failing?

  24. Hi,

    We are looking for material with can withstand temperature upto 600 degree centigrade at least for 30 minutes and should not lose its properties.
    We are interested in the materials you produce Vespel , Torlon, Ryton, Noryl.
    Could you please let us know its per kilogram cost and by which process we can mould it.

    Awaiting your valuable response.

    Thanks,
    Arpan Kumar,
    Wipro Limited.

    1. Arpan,
      600 degrees C would be a stretch for any of the materials you mentioned. Does your application call for 600 C or F? Thanks.

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