We’ve written at length in the past about how phenolic machining brings with it a wide range of different benefits that can’t be ignored. But at the same time, no two projects are created equally. Sometimes you’re in the middle of a relatively straightforward enterprise and can afford to experiment with phenolics. But if you have little-to-no experience with these materials, it’s natural to assume that some projects are so paramount that you can’t leave anything to chance and thus begin looking for alternatives to meet your needs.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that phenolics had no place in situations of that scope, but you’d also be wrong.

The truth is that phenolic machining still plays an essential role in all projects of this magnitude and may even be more important than ever. There are a number of key reasons why using phenolics on all of your mission critical projects is no longer a recommendation – it’s practically a requirement.

The Characteristics You Need When You Need Them the Most

Phenolic machining is so common and popular due to the key characteristics shared across all phenolic material types. All offer exceptional corrosion resistance, include varying degrees of electrical insulating characteristics and have solid machinability in even the most demanding situations.

This in turn creates superior levels of both sustainability and durability that you can expect as a result. One recent study revealed that solid phenolic panels, for example, have a typical lifecycle of more than 20 years – far exceeding that of alternatives you might be considering.

In another analysis of projects that used phenolic machining over the course of 15 years, it was revealed that those using phenolic materials like G10-FR4 had a less than 0.0004% failure rate. So much of this has to do with the fact that most phenolics offer superior resistant to not only water and impact, but also other stresses as well. Phenolic resins by their nature are incredibly hard and have the type of high load capabilities that most essential projects call for.

Versatility, Thy Name is Phenolic Machining

Another one of the key reasons why phenolics should be a cornerstone of your current and future projects has to do with the versatility they offer, making them perfect for even very specific applications. Consider the following benefits of each phenolic type:

  • Glass-based phenolics have a high resistance to moisture absorption, and also offer very strong electrical and mechanical properties as well.
  • Cloth-based phenolics are usually the ideal choice for projects that call for a high level of mechanical strength.
  • Paper-based phenolics are perfect for situations where electrical insulation is a must.

In any situation, you’re still talking about phenolics but the possibilities of what you can do given the material selected varies wildly. Likewise, once you have all information about variables like temperature, humidity and environment, you have everything you need to both select the right type of material and bend that material to meet the needs of your critical project. You don’t have to adjust your expectations or settle for a less-than-desired outcome due to limitations in the material that you can’t avoid.

To that end, there is absolutely a type of phenolic that is available for nearly anything you’re trying to accomplish. And the science of phenolics continues to evolve and improve. Case in point – NASA even has engineered a new phenolic-impregnated material to create heat shields for space craft, and this same material was employed by Space-X to outfit its Dragon capsule which delivers cargo to and from the International Space Station.

If it’s good enough for NASA, and Space-X, it’s good enough for your mission critical project, too.