Metallising plastic: High temperature polymer gets metal finish

Highly polished metal finish on plastic reflector Highly polished metal finish for plastic reflector housing helps to save weight but keep reflective properties
A high temperature plastic has been metallised by Albis Plastic to make a car reflector. Using vapour application, a thin metal layer is applied to the surface of the thermoplastic inside a vacuum.

The result is a surface that closely replicated a highly polished metal. Even the trained eye is said to mistake the material for a genuine metallic component.

The material does not need painting to apply the metallised surface, as is often the case for these types of coatings, although treatment with argon plasma is recommended when applying an aluminium layer.

The material, TEDUR, is a linear polyphenylene sulphide (PPS) that offers thermal stability up to 240°C, can handle short term thermal conditions up to 260°C and has a melting point of a staggering 285°C. The material is becoming increasingly popular for metal replacement projects given its resistance to chemical attack and hydrolysis, high stiffness, and low creep under continuous loads, as well as its obvious aesthetic quality.

TEDUR is a suitable substitute for metals and light metal alloys as well as other high quality thermoplastic, thermoset and ceramic materials. With a modulus of elasticity up to 25000MPa, low shrinkage and low creep even at elevated temperatures, it offers a practical and aesthetic lightweight replacement for most metal applications.

The surface finish can be made to closely replicate a highly polished metal, allowing it to be used as a reflector or within similar applications.

Author
Albis Plastic

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Working on a small scale process, still in the experimental phases. Has anyone had success sputtering this type of metallic coating on a polymer with a low frequency, low power plasma system? I have access to a PE-25 cleaner from Plasmaetch. It's not an etching capable machine, but I am trying to sputter with it. Any advice?

Comment Tom Abraham, 06/06/2016
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