April 24, 2024

Polyamide 12 Growth and Trends

Polyamide 12, commonly known as Nylon 12, is an important semi-crystalline thermoplastic belonging to the nylon family. It is characterized by its robustness, resistance to fatigue, creep and stress cracking. These properties make it preferable over other nylons and plastics for various industrial applications.

Chemical Structure and Properties

Polyamide 12 has a chemical formula of (C12H22O2)n. Its main chain is composed repeating amide groups as in other nylons but it has 12 carbon atoms between each amide linkage. This gives it unique characteristics compared to polyamide 6 and polyamide 66 which have 6 and 6-6 repeating units respectively.

Due to its higher molecular weight, polyamide 12 has a melting point higher than other nylons at around 178°C. It also has good flexural modulus and strength retention over a wide temperature range from -40°C to 120°C. Other noteworthy properties include excellent chemical resistance, low moisture absorption, self-lubricating ability and clarity.

Processing Methods

Common processing techniques used for polyamide 12 include extrusion, injection molding and blow molding. As it has a higher melting point, processing temperatures for polyamide 12 are also relatively higher between 180-230°C. Special low sliding and low friction additives are often added to reduce die build-up during extrusion.

Polyamide 12 can form articles with thin walls, complex geometries and tight tolerances using injection molding. For blow molding containers and parts, parisons extruded from polyamide 12 raw material pellets are then blow molded using trapped air under high pressure at temperatures between 180-210°C.

Applications in Various Industries

Automotive Industry
Under the hood applications of polyamide include air ducts, air intake manifolds, oil pans, suspension parts etc. It is also getting increasingly popular for interior and exterior auto trim parts due to its moldability, structural performance and appearance.

Electrical & Electronics Industry
Polyamide 12 finds application in connectors, plugs, switches etc. due to its self-lubricating and insulating properties. It is also used for making small components inside devices, electrical enclosures and wire and cable jacketing.

Oil & Gas Industry
PA 12 corrosion resistance and low temperature toughness make it suitable for manufacture of pipes, valves, manifolds and fittings used in offshore oil rigs. It has also penetrated the subsea oil and gas market.

Consumer Goods Industry
Common consumer products made of polyamide 12 include food containers, household items, furniture parts, toys etc. Biomedical applications also utilize its biocompatibility for non-implantable devices.

Characteristics Driving Increased Demand
The combination of robust mechanical properties, corrosion resistance, fatigue strength retention over a wide temperature range and ease of processing have rendered polyamide 12 a preferred plastic for many functional as well as structural applications replacing metals.

Recent Developments

Bio-based Polyamide 12
Significant R&D is ongoing to develop bio-based or renewable polyamide 12 from annually renewable plant-based feedstock like castor oil instead of petroleum sources. This is expected to provide a more sustainable alternative without sacrificing mechanical performance.

Nanocomposites
By reinforcing polyamide 12 with nanofillers like graphene, carbon nanotubes and clay, its properties like stiffness, heat deflection temperature, barrier characteristics and flame retardancy can be significantly enhanced. This will open up new high performance applications.

3D Printing
Advances in 3D printing technologies utilizing polyamide 12 filaments now enable quick customisation and series production of complex parts. This is a new additive manufacturing avenue promising to revolutionize design and prototyping processes.

Conclusion

With its exceptional balance of mechanical, chemical and thermal characteristics, polyamide 12 is emerging as an engineering thermoplastic of choice for both functional and safety critical applications. Continuous product and process innovations are further expanding its utilization scope across industries while also addressing sustainability goals. Overall, polyamide 12 is expected to witness steady growth as a high performance technical polymer system in the coming years.

*Note:
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraaged AI tools to mine informaation and compile it