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High Performance Torlon



Torlon is a high performance amorphous thermoplastic, also known as polyamide-imide.  It has become a popular choice for labyrinth seals, especially in the area of reciprocating compressors.  In this article, you will be reminded of six things you need to know about Torlon.



Here are additional articles on Polymer Labyrinth Seals:

#1. Torlon maintains its strength at extreme temperatures that thermoplastics just can’t handle. 

In fact, high strength grades of Torlon can compete with metal at elevated temperatures, and even when subject to high stress.  Torlon labyrinth seals can survive both cryogenic and high temperature environments (up to 500°F).


#2. Torlon is self-lubricating. 

That means parts made from Torlon perform well in both lubricated and non-lubricated environments.  This is a definite plus for labyrinth seals in challenging environments where lubrication is a serious problem.  It also has an extremely low coefficient of friction.


#3. Torlon can be injection and compression molded. 

Injection molded parts offer outstanding replication, easy fabrication, close tolerances, and even lower unit costs on high volume smaill diameter parts.  With regards to larger diameter labyrinth seal compression molded near net tubes are typically used. 


#4. Torlon is dimensionally stable

Torlon has relatively low expansion thermal and hygroscopic expansion coefficients.  That means that even a wet, thermally unstable environment, Torlon labyrinth seals can maintain their shape.


#5. Torlon is chemically resistant

Torlon performs extremely well in the presence of automotive and aviation fluids.  Testing has shown that at moderate temperatures it is barely affected by chlorinated and fluorinated hydrocarbons, aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons, and most acids.  Its primary weakness are strong bases, some high-temperature acids, and saturated steam.


#6. Torlon has approval from numerous agencies. 

Specific grades of Torlon have passed FAA requirements regarding toxic gas emissions, flammability, and smoke density.  Underwriter’s Laboratories have given all grades of Torlon their stamp of approval as it regards vertical flammability, and some grades have received certification for continuous use.  In AMS 3670, SAE encourages the use of Torlon in aerospace design situations where thermal stability, a low coefficient of friction, and toughness are important up to temperature of 428°F.


Torlon is a great choice when you need a chemically resistant, dimensionally stable labyrinth seal that needs to hold up under extreme temperatures.  When selecting a labyrinth seal, don’t forget to put Torlon on your list of potential materials.

 Would you like more in-depth information on TORLON, get the FREE TORLON polyamide-imide Design Guide for Engineer’s in the know.




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