SABIC’s versatile ULTEM resins, on display at AIX 2024, support recycling and sustainability goals

  • At AIX 2024, SABIC is showcasing its diverse portfolio of ULTEM materials that can replace traditional thermosets and promote design freedom, processing ease and sustainability.
  • ULTEM resins are adaptable for use in many different formats, processing methods and applications.
  • These resins enhance sustainability by offering opportunities for mono-material designs and replacing fossil-based grades with equivalent certified renewable grades.

Hamburg, Germany, May 28, 2024SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, is highlighting its broad and diverse portfolio of ULTEM materials at the 2024 Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX). ULTEM resin, a polyetherimide (PEI), is adaptable to a wide range of formats, including foam, sheet, fiber, powder, and composite and honeycomb structures. Due to their versatility and desirable attributes, these resins offer the industry a smooth transition path from traditional thermosets to lighter, more environmentally cautious and more easily processed thermoplastics. At its exhibit (Stand #6C51B), the company is displaying aircraft applications that benefit from a variety of ULTEM materials, including interior parts, seating, lighting, structural elements, electrical components and composites.

To address the industry’s sustainability goals, SABIC is showing how these different ULTEM material formats support mono-material designs that may simplify recycling. Furthermore, SABIC supplies ULTEM resin grades containing certified International Sustainability and Carbon Certification Plus (ISCC+) renewable feedstock.

“With our long history of providing high-performance ULTEM materials to the aerospace industry, and strong focus on sustainable solutions, SABIC is perfectly positioned to address current and emerging aerospace challenges,” said Maureen MacDonald-Stein, Director, Portfolio Strategy and Marketing, SABIC Polymers, Specialties business, SABIC. “We are helping customers replace traditional materials with thermoplastics to cut weight, streamline processing and reduce carbon footprint. To facilitate this transition, SABIC offers a variety of ULTEM materials that can enhance design flexibility, meet application and regulatory requirements, and may help drive down system costs. Our exhibit at AIX 2024 showcases the breadth and depth of our portfolio of high-heat materials.”

ULTEM Resins and Sustainability

The wide array of ULTEM formats on display at AIX 2024 can empower designers to adopt mono-material applications that facilitate recycling. Combining injection molded components with foam, sheet, composites or textiles – all made with ULTEM materials – can help avoid the need for costly separation at end of life. Mono-material designs made with ULTEM grades can also help to streamline the supply chain vs. sourcing disparate materials from multiple suppliers.

Also contributing to sustainability are the ISCC+ certified renewable ULTEM grades that deliver the same high performance and processability as incumbent materials, enabling them to serve as drop-in alternatives, and potentially shortening their qualification cycle. Certified renewable ULTEM resins can potentially reduce carbon footprint by up to 10 percent compared to fossil-based incumbent grades.

An example is a cove lighting concept made with ISCC+ certified renewable ULTEM 9085 resin, developed by Vaupell, a tier supplier to the aerospace industry, which will be on display at SABIC’s booth.

Material Versatility to Meet Evolving Needs

ULTEM resin can be used in a variety of formats to meet the needs of aircraft interior applications. In injection-molded parts such as passenger service unit, ULTEM 9085 resin with molded-in color can enhance aesthetics, cut weight and ensure dimensional stability. ULTEM 1010 resin can be used to extrude exceptionally lightweight and strong honeycomb structures for interior parts such as side walls, ceilings and galley builds. Other structural applications featured at the SABIC booth include brackets and fasteners.

For electrical and fiber optic connectors, ULTEM 2300 resin and EXTEM XH2115 resin deliver a low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) and excellent dimensional stability. They also enable thin-wall, complex connector designs.

SILTEM resins, which combine the high-heat performance of ULTEM resin with the flexibility of silicone elastomers, deliver high performance in extruded wire & cable applications without intentionally added per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

ULTEM CRS powder can be used in carbon fiber composites and unidirectional (UD) tapes for structural parts as a potential alternative to polyether ether ketone (PEEK).

Non-woven fleece and non-woven textiles are two key applications for ULTEM 9011 fiber. This fiber offers low flame/smoke/toxicity and resistance to UV light, heat and chemicals. Applications include lightweight panels and sandwich structures.

ULTEM resins can be foamed to create lightweight cores or extruded into sheet products. They can also be metallized using electroless plating. At AIX 2024, SABIC is highlighting its collaboration with Cybershield, a U.S. supplier of metalized plastic components. The two companies are evaluating the plating compatibility, quality and performance of filled and unfilled ULTEM resins.

While the ULTEM material portfolio is highly diversified, these amorphous thermoplastics share common attributes including compliance with FAR 25 853 regulations. They feature elevated thermal resistance, high strength and stiffness, broad chemical resistance, and inherent flame retardance. ULTEM materials can be extruded, thermoformed, extrusion blow molded, foamed and injection molded, and can be reinforced with glass or carbon fiber.

AIX 2024 is being held May 28-30, in Hamburg, Germany.

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Notes for editors

  • SABIC and brands marked with ™ are trademarks of SABIC or its subsidiaries or affiliates.
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SABIC is a global diversified chemicals company, headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It manufactures on a global scale in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific, making distinctly different kinds of products: chemicals, commodity and high performance plastics, agri-nutrients and metals.

SABIC supports its customers by identifying and developing opportunities in key end-use applications such as Automotive, Hygiene & Healthcare, Electrical & Electronics, Packaging, Agriculture, Consumer Products, and Building & Construction. 

The company has more than 32,000 employees worldwide, serving customers in more than 140 countries. Fostering innovation and a spirit of ingenuity, SABIC has 11,070 patents and pending applications, and has significant research resources with innovation hubs in five key geographies – USA, Europe, Middle East, South Asia and North Asia.

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