Aerospace

Navigate plastic materials, certifications, and technical expertise with confidence

Don’t take our word, read what some of our customers are saying: 

We evaluate suppliers on quality, on-time delivery, and overall customer satisfaction. We have metrics for each supplier and Curbell had some of the highest scores in each category.
Parker Hannifin’s Veriflo Division – Precision regulators and flow control components
MSL has worked closely with Curbell for many years. A significant volume of our work has requirements flowed down by our customers. Having a strategic supplier like Curbell allows us to cross collaborate new ideas, processes, and materials by openly sharing drawings and specifications which provide us key advantages over our competition.
MSL Precision – Aerospace components



Authorized Distributor of DuPont™ Vespel Polyimide

Materials for aerospace application challenges

Need to handle extreme temperatures, use authentic materials, and save weight? Get complete material certifications and traceability, plastic materials expertise, ISO 9001:2008 facilities with AS9120A certification, and decades of aerospace experience, all from one source.

Replace metals with plastics, to achieve weight & cost savings

High performance engineering plastics are a natural fit for the aerospace industry due to their light weight compared with other industrial materials. A typical engineering polymer has half the density of aluminum or glass and 1/6th the density of steel. 

Many high-performance engineering plastics:

  • Have outstanding flame, smoke, and toxicity characteristics
  • Can handle 400°F and higher for long periods of time, and can withstand large temperature swings
  • Resist aviation fuels and other chemicals
  • Are tough, impact resistant, and stand up to vibration and abrasion
  • Give you design freedom, including many color and surface texture options for aircraft interiors
  • Have good sealing characteristics
  • Perform well in bearing and wear applications
  • Offer transparency for windows and aircraft canopies
  • Have electrical insulating properties
     

For demanding applications in aviation, plastics help you soar

Leading aerospace companies use our lightweight plastics to keep passengers comfortable, protect vital electronics, and improve reliability of mission-critical components.

Aerospace grades of plastic sheet for aircraft interiors - Kydex® high impact fire-rated thermoplastic materials and Royalite® fire-rated rigid ABS/PVC

Aerospace grades of Makrolon® Polycarbonate for back-lit instrument panels and LED light diffusers

 

  • Cabin Interiors - Aerospace grades of plastic sheet such as Kydex®, a family of high impact, fire-rated thermoplastic materials and Royalite®, fire-rated, rigid ABS/PVC thermoplastic materials, are engineered to have the durability, cleaning chemical resistance, and fire resistance required for aircraft interiors. These materials are thermoformed and used as tray tables, arm rests, and seat backs.
     
  • Back-lit Panels - Aerospace grades of Makrolon® polycarbonate, are used for back-lit instrument panels and LED light diffusers.
     
  • Protection - Plastic spiral wrap insulation, convoluted tubing, and heat shrink tubing are used to protect wire and cable in the aircraft cabin from vibration and abrasion during flight.

Typical aerospace applications:

  • Aircraft tray tables and arm rests
  • Aircraft windows and canopies
  • Air-return grills
  • Avionics instrument panels
  • Bearings and bushings
  • Composite tooling
  • Fasteners
  • Gears and gear spaces
  • Guides and stops
  • Housings
  • Interior components
  • Valve seats and seals
  • Slide rails
  • Splines
  • Standoff insulators
  • Wear pads
  • Wire wrap insulation

 

Explore DuPont™ Vespel® & other high performance plastics

With innovative materials from the world’s leading manufacturers—including plastic with formulated PTFE, carbon graphite, and other additives—we can help you meet the most demanding specs or applications.

  • Locking Fasteners and Splines - Materials such as authentic DuPont™Vespel®DuPont™ Vespel® Splineoffer important advantages compared with metals in that they are less likely to damage mating parts during assembly and disassembly. The Vespel® Family of materials may be a good choice for aerospace locking fasteners and splines where good mechanical properties and dimensional stability are required throughout a wide operating temperature range from cryogenic to 550°F with excursions to 900°F.
     
  • Valve Components - Aircraft and spacecraft rely on the controlled flow of liquids and gasses, including hydraulic fluids, lubricating oils, cabin air, and engine bleed air during operation. Valves play an important role in controlling the flow of aircraft fluids and gases and high performance polymers such as PEEK, PCTFE, and DuPont™ Vespel®, are often used for valve seats and seals. These materials have the chemical resistance, creep resistance, and wear properties required for aircraft fluid handling applications.

Proven materials in aerospace:

Counterfeit DuPont™ Vespel® can ground your product & put your company at risk

Are you getting authentic materials? Do you have confidence in your supplier’s supply chain? Curbell Plastics is an authorized supplier of DuPont™ Vespel®.  There are reports of unauthorized resellers attempting to sell the DuPont™ Vespel® product as to unsuspecting customers and alter the Certificate of Conformance (CoC). These altered CoCs do not contain the correct lot number information for traceability purposes. Purchasing materials from an unreliable (or unauthorized) supplier may pose a performance risk and product traceability is compromised.

  • How can I tell whether or not the DuPont™ Vespel® shapes I have are authentic? 
    The first step to ensure that you are purchasing Authentic DuPont™ Vespel® shapes is to buy only from an authorized DuPont distributor, such as Curbell Plastics.

    Product purchased from an authorized DuPont distributor will be labeled with a genuine DuPont™ Vespel® shapes product label and accompanied by an official CoC. The tamper-evident product labels are serialized to add a level of traceability and contain covert security technology that helps prevent counterfeiting of Authentic DuPont™ Vespel® shapes product labels. If you doubt that a product label is genuine, Curbell will verify its authenticity at no expense.

Need materials for aerospace applications? Contact us today.

Which plastic will perform best at 400°F? What’s the difference between PEEK and Vespel®? Where can you get more technical data? Contact us today and we’ll be happy to answer all of your questions to keep your project moving forward.

Call 1-800-553-0335  |  Ask an expert  |  Explore our materials


Frequently Asked Questions
Do plastics have the flammability characteristics required for aerospace parts?

Certain plastics such as DuPont™ Vespel®, PEEK, PCTFE, and aerospace grades of polycarbonate have outstanding flammability characteristics. These materials are often specified for aerospace applications.

Can plastics replace metals in aerospace applications?

Plastics are often used to replace metals for aerospace applications where weight savings, noise reduction, and improved aesthetics are desired.  

How can I determine the minimum and maximum operating temperatures for a plastic material?

Plastic materials will exhibit different mechanical properties when used in extremely low temperature or high temperature environments. It is important to evaluate the strength, stiffness, and toughness of a particular plastic throughout the required operating temperature range. Additionally, it is important to consider thermal expansion, creep, stress relaxation, and oxidative stability when selecting a plastic for use in a particular aerospace application.

Can plastics operate in the presence of aerospace chemicals?

A number of plastic materials including PEEK, PPS, PTFE, and PVDF have outstanding chemical resistance and these materials are often used for aerospace applications. It is important to consider the part geometry, mechanical loads, operating temperature range, and the concentration of the chemicals involved when selecting a polymer for use in a chemical environment.

What are the best plastic materials to use for electrical applications?

Plastics with high dielectric strength, such as DuPont™ Vespel®, PEEK, and Ultem® have good insulating characteristics and are frequently specified for electrical components. Plastic materials with low dielectric constants such as PTFE are often used for aircraft antenna applications.