Polymer-based tooling boards have been used in the prototyping and modelling industry for several years. However, the introduction of our uniquely formulated hybrid polymer tooling boards, such as our Halo™ board, has revolutionised the market. By combining different polymer types, hybrid thermosets can be produced, which allow for the creation of boards with specific and customisable properties.
However, due to the recent discovery of hybrid materials, it is important to compare their pros and cons to other prototyping materials to ensure that you select the material which is most suitable for your desired needs.
It is often useful to compare hybrid materials to other possible chemical structures, mainly because improved properties can be obtained by combining different structures together in one overall polymer matrix. As an example, this is very evident with certain well-known thermoplastics such as ABS. At one time, many vacuum-formed thermoplastic mouldings were manufactured from polystyrene. Today, improved properties are obtained by using a three-component hybrid polymer consisting of Acrylonitrile (the precursor for carbon-fibre), Butadiene (for improved impact strength) and Styrene polymer – hence ABS. This concept of combining different polymers to optimise the overall properties of the hybrid has been extended to thermoset materials, including our HaloTM tooling board.
At Rub-ix, we have our own in-house research and development facilities where we are able to translate innovative thermoset chemistry into unique products which provide solutions to our customers’ continually evolving needs.
The Advantages of Hybrid Polymers
High temperature and pressure stability
- Halo™ has the ability to withstand much higher pressures and temperatures (up to 200ºC) than many other prototyping materials, which makes it perfect for automotive and aerospace applications in which heat resistance (Tg) is an important requirement.
Low coefficient of thermal expansion
- Our Halo™ boards have been formulated using a unique chemical composition that ensures that they will retain their dimensions at high temperatures. The low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) is ideal for most applications including its use with carbon fibre prepregs.
30-50% less expensive than other prototyping materials.
- Halo™ boards can be obtained at prices similar to polyurethane boards, whilst matching or exceeding the mechanical properties and thermal properties of other types of polymers. This results in a more cost-effective solution.
Carbon fibre prepregs
- Alongside all of the aforementioned qualities of Halo™, it also has a pristine, glossy finish. This makes it ideal for use alongside carbon fibre prepregs, with the potential for use within the F1 industry, and other sectors which rely heavily on carbon fibre materials. We provide a suitable board sealer (Halo-Seal) and adhesive for use in this application.
- We recognise that our clients require both innovative and sustainable solutions to their manufacturing processes. Due to the chemical nature of Halo™, we are able to substitute petrochemical-derived elements for sustainable, bio-based and recycled plastic alternatives. This means that certain tooling board grades can achieve the very highest levels of environmental attributes, something that is difficult to achieve with other chemical structures such as other high-performance materials, including polyimides and polyoxazolidones.
As a result of being a recent innovative solution in the tooling board industry, there are often misconceptions about hybrid polymers. As industries have relied on other prototyping materials for so long, there is sometimes a lack of willingness to try something new. Nevertheless, the advantages listed above demonstrate that hybrid polymers have desirable characteristics enabling them to compete alongside other, more well-established materials.
In conclusion, hybrid polymer tooling boards, such as our Halo™ board range, offer several advantages over traditional prototyping materials. They are durable, customisable, and are cost-effective. When compared to some other prototyping materials, they offer superior performance in several key areas. If you are in need of a high-performance tooling board, consider our Halo™ board range. Its unique hybrid polymer composition offers the best of both worlds, providing high-performance properties along with the attractive processing characteristics of conventional polyurethanes – all of this at very realistic prices.