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Advanced polymers give engineers greater freedom

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In hand-held electronics applications, one of the major characteristics required in a material is its Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) compatibility.

If the material picks up moisture, it changes its RFI characteristics and detunes itself. This means that the battery has to supply more power to the antenna and the battery life suffers as a result.

DuPont has developed enhanced materials, which are less prone to moisture absorption.

DuPont Zytel RS HTN high-performance polyamide is a renewably sourced polymer that has seen a four times growth rate since its introduction just four years ago.

Stiffness, strength, low warpage and low moisture pickup combine to help ensure thinner walls for light designs that improve performance.

Derived from sebacic acid, the material affords environmental benefits by replacing petroleum sources with non-food renewable sources.

Hand-held Segment Leader Mark Hazel of DuPont Performance Polymers explains: "Screens and circuit boards cannot twist or deform too much so stiffness is vital.

"We use 50 percent glass filler to achieve the best stiffness and toughness (only possible in nylons such as Zytel HTN), but we also have to consider RFI compatibility, colorability and surface finish – it is a fine balancing act."

DuPont also has developed a repetitive-impact test, which, rather than testing impact test bars to discover the energy to shear, actually tests and measures the number of times a sample can be hit until it breaks.

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