PA6 is an engineering plastic whose diverse uses include automobile engine compartments and appliance housings. PA6 resin incorporates a flexible elastomer (see note 1) to resist fatigue and optimize the lifespan. The tradeoff, however, is that this lowers PA6’s thermal resistance, rigidity, and strength. The challenge for many years has thus been to develop a new material that offers all of these desirable properties.
Toray focused on polyrotaxane (see note 2), which has a sliding molecular bond, as a polymer whose structure moves in response to external forces. The company endeavored to balance the inherent attributes of PA6 and fatigue resistance by finely dispersing polyrotaxane in the resin.