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Vectra® liquid crystal polymers (LCP) are highly crystalline, thermotropic (melt-orienting) thermoplastics that can deliver exceptionally precise and stable dimensions, high temperature performance and chemical resistance in very thin-walled applications.
When melted, conventional semicrystalline polymers have a random structure, which, as they cool, form highly ordered crystalline regions surrounded by an amorphous matrix. LCPs take this order to another level.
LCP molecules remain well-ordered even in the melt and slide past each other easily under shear. The result is very low melt viscosity making it easy to fill extremely thin walls and to replicate intricate features. They exhibit little or no shrinkage in the flow direction and require very little time to set up or solidify. Quick fills and shorter cycle times mean increased productivity.
Injection-moldable liquid crystal polymer products have proven successful in a variety of applications, including connectors, antennas, CPU sockets, compact camera modules, sensors, small e-motors, medical devices, dental tools and surgical instruments. Unfilled polymers can be extruded for film or sheet, co-extruded for barrier packaging or melt spun for applications needing high-performance fibers or yarn.
These highly crystalline, thermotropic (melt-orienting) thermoplastics are distinguished from semicrystalline plastics by their special molecular structure, which consists of rigid, rod-like macromolecules that are ordered in the melt phase to form liquid crystal structures.
LCPs have replaced stainless steel in medical applications with several grades compliant with USP Class VI guidelines and ISO 10993. They are resistant to gamma radiation, steam autoclaving and most chemical sterilization methods.