It’s no secret that we rely on plastics to get through our daily lives in just about every aspect. Plastics are everywhere because they find use throughout every major industry globally.
But even on an engineering level, where things are so technical and mechanical at times, plastics even take over here where they outlast and outperform most other materials, namely metals. Here are just some of the benefits of using plastic gears over metal gears to get you up to speed.
Of course, it’s much more practical to use plastics because they’re byproducts of petroleum production. This attribute sets plastic apart from metals economically. There’s a limited supply of metal ore and alloy available, which hikes up the cost, and it’s harder to use in manufacturing.
Open Design Plans
Because metals take lots of work to manipulate and shape, they require a lot of tooling and energy. On the other hand, plastics are relatively easy to mold. Plastics are the clear choice due to their versatility. They work in an infinite number of designs. This is critical to gear manufacturing because the designs can be super intricate, and it’s a great reason to choose plastic over metal for gear production.
Metals are notorious for corroding when exposed to the elements, especially water and air. Plastics don’t have this issue, as they can repel moisture. Most plastics these days also fall under the category of thermoplastics. This means they can tolerate high heat with ease without bending or losing shape or function.
When under high tension, plastics won’t make noise for several reasons. They’re smoother and self-lubricating. On the other hand, metals tend to dry out and rub hard against other metal gears, causing excessive noise under pressure. They often need oiling to keep the noise levels down and stay functional.
Plastics rebound quickly under excessive pressure and even absorb the tension to alleviate the stress. To a certain point, metals can resist a fair amount of shock, but they eventually crack under pressure, especially when it comes to gears. This is a characteristic in which not many other materials can compete with metals.
Because plastic is a byproduct of petroleum, resins that come from oil comprise it. By nature, it produces its own lubricant. So, when put under pressure, it doesn’t need periodic oiling to keep it functioning and prevent too much heat and friction from building up. It resolves that on its own with its lubricating ability.
As you can see, the benefits of using plastic gears far outweigh those of metal gears of the past. These perform better on just about every level. They are also an economical choice and cost little to produce and replace.