Electromagnetically transparent plastics for high-frequency radome applications

Low loss plastic materials meet the stringent electrical requirements of high-frequency and high-power density applications. 5G telecommunications, high-speed aircraft, and communications satellites all depend on durable dielectric materials to protect antennas and critical radar systems. 

Plastic materials are lightweight, resistant to rain erosion, and have outstanding dielectric properties. Curbell supplies plastics suitable for indoor, outdoor, high-speed, and extreme temperature radome applications.

Amorphous thermoplastics such as ABS, PMC® TPO, KYDEX® Thermoplastics, Boltaron®, and polycarbonate are easily manufactured into radomes by cost-efficient thermoforming techniques. These materials are available in a wide range of colors and textures to achieve aesthetically pleasing radome designs.

High-performance polyaryletherketones, fluoropolymers, and DuPont™ Vespel® polyimide can be machined into radomes suitable for demanding applications involving extreme temperatures, high speeds, and chemical exposure. Thermoset laminates such as FR-4 can also be machined into radomes where dielectric requirements are less stringent.

Benefits of Plastic Materials for Radomes:

  • Low dissipation factor
  • Low dielectric constant
  • High strength and modulus
  • High impact resistance
  • Low water absorption
  • Weatherability
  • Rain erosion resistance
  • UV resistance
  • Surface hydrophobicity
  • Machining and fabrication characteristics
  • Availability in many colors

Plastic Materials for Radome Applications



Outstanding impact resistant low cost plastic, easy to machine, and thermoform.



Transparent, strong and stiff thermoplastic with outstanding impact resistance.

KYDEX® Thermoplastic sheets in various colors stacked and fanned out

KYDEX® Thermoplastic Sheet

High impact, thermoplastic sheet that is tough, durable, and easy to form.



Engineering plastic with outstanding strength, stiffness, and electrical insulating properties.



Low friction engineering plastic with outstanding chemical, high temperature, and weathering resistance.



High strength plastic with outstanding electrical and high service temperature properties.


G10/FR-4 Glass Epoxy

Glass/epoxy composite material with outstanding electrical properties.


DuPont™ Vespel® Polyimide

Extremely high temperature creep resistant plastic with excellent friction and wear characteristics.

Plastic Applications for Radomes

  • 5G telecommunications
  • High-speed aircraft
  • Satellite communications
  • Military
  • Maritime communications

Why Plastic Materials for Radomes

Many thermoplastics are virtually transparent to RF owing to exceptional dielectric properties. They also exhibit superior ductility and rain erosion resistance compared to conventional thermoset composite and ceramic materials.

Some thermoplastics can be thermoformed into deep-draw radome structures. This cost-effective manufacturing method is best suited for amorphous thermoplastics, however some semi-crystalline polymers such as PEKK, PEEK, and ETFE can be thermoformed with sophisticated tooling and tight control of processing conditions. Curbell partners with experienced thermoformers to achieve part detail and surface textures that compare to injection-molded parts without the prohibitive tooling costs and part minimums.

Curbell’s plastics experts can provide engineers with technical information so they can choose the best polymer for their specific radome or telecommunications application.

Curbell assists with:

  • Plastic material selection
  • Plastic part design
  • Prototype development
  • Supply chain and inventory management
  • Cut-to-size sheet, rod, and tube
  • Machined plastic parts
  • Thermoformed plastic parts

Advantages of Plastic Materials for Radomes


Some plastic materials are inherently UV stable and some are available with additives that extend service life in outdoor applications.

Dielectric Properties

Plastics generally have very low dissipation factors and dielectric constants. This allows RF signals to pass through with minimal attenuation.


Non-polar plastics, especially polyolefins and fluoropolymers, tend to be hydrophobic. The poor wettability of hydrophobic surfaces reduces moisture uptake, ice adhesion, and the accumulation of precipitation. Hydrophobic surfaces are typically difficult to paint or bond with adhesives without surface preparation.


Radomes must withstand potential foreign object impacts. High performance thermoplastics such as DuPont™ Vespel® remain relatively ductile across temperature extremes involved in demanding applications such as high-speed flight. For general-use outdoor radomes, TUFFAK® polycarbonate, KYDEX® Thermoplastics, Boltaron®, and thermoplastic polyolefins (TPOs) offer extraordinary toughness and ductility.


Plastics reduce the cost of telecommunications equipment by extending the life of electrical equipment. Radomes can be economically manufactured in small or large volumes by thermoforming plastic sheet stock with relatively inexpensive tooling.


Radomes manufactured from most thermoplastics are recyclable at the end of service.

Continue Your Research

Not sure which materials best fit your needs?

Our experienced sales and technical teams are available to assist you with material selection challenges.


Can plastics be used in outdoor environments?

Do plastics attenuate RF signals?

Can plastic materials save weight compared with composites?

How durable are plastic materials?

Which plastics should I used for telecommunications applications?

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