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When Is Plastic Not a Good Substitute?

These days, so many things that used to be made from metal are now made from plastic. Often, this is because plastic is cheaper to manufacture, is lighter in weight, and may be durable for certain uses. Car bumpers serve as an example. However, there are times when saving money by using plastic instead of metal or metal alloys is not acceptable and manufactured body wire is usually necessary.

Aircraft Construction

One example that may be obvious is airplane construction. Aircraft fittings and jet engine parts need to be made from material that is heat-resistant and able to be welded. Stainless steel alloys are often used for this purpose. Other aircraft parts like those of turbine engines and various structural components also need to be highly resistant to corrosion. For these purposes, titanium alloys may be utilized in construction.

Medical Equipment

Some medical devices may be manufactured from plastic, and that is perfectly acceptable. For example, disposable forceps and syringes are often used in medical practice. This alleviates the need for continual sterilization in an autoclave. However, some medical devices and tools are still made from metal. Many surgical and dentistry tools consist of strong metals and their alloys. Titanium is one of the most popular choices for medical instrumentation and surgical implants because of its high strength and relatively low weight.

Components for Technology

Niobium is a very interesting material that has a multitude of uses, including being a component of capacitors, superconductors, nuclear reactors, coins and hypoallergenic jewelry. This metal even plays a part in research surrounding superconducting magnets, and its alloys are used in creating magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology.

There still exist some areas where plastic will usually not suffice and metal or metal alloys continue to have a stronghold in the manufacturing process. Less expensive plastics in these cases are not suitable substitutes.

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