Outstanding characteristics – numerous applications
The German chemist Hermann Staudinger is considered as founder of the polymer chemistry. Already in 1917 he stated that high-molecular compounds consist of covalently joined, long-chain molecules. In 1920 he published an article in the specialist journal "Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft" which is deemed the beginning of modern polymer sciences. Between 1924 and 1928 further important theories about the composition of plastics followed. Until today, they form the basis for understanding this class of materials. For his pieces of work Staudinger was awarded the Nobel prize in 1953.
An outstanding characteristic of plastics is that their technical properties such as mouldability, hardness, elasticity, fracture strength, temperature and heat resistance and chemical resistance can be varied to a large extent by selecting the feedstock, processes of manufacture and adding additives. With regard to elastomers, there is also elastic deformability. This means that these plastics can deform in case of tensile and compressive loads, but subsequently they recover their original undeformed shape. Accordingly, the fields of application for plastics are diverse.
A special competence above all is the processing of silicones into functional layers, films and membranes which are particularly resistant to chemicals, flame-resistant and very rough. The characterization of elastomer materials above all of seals in automotive engineering is a further field of competence at our institute. Due to their complex geometry it is difficult to determine the friction and wear properties and to develop prediction models.