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New thermal imaging camera designed for firefighters

Solvay Advanced Polymers Llc : 11 February, 2004  (New Product)
Although traditionally known in industry circles for its uncompromising performance in the re-usable medical device arena where it must stand up to repeated high-temperature sterilization, RADEL R polyphenylsulfone produced by Solvay Advanced Polymers, L.L.C., is now being used to protect and house a new generation of thermal imaging cameras manufactured for the firefighting industry.
The hand-held Argus 3 thermal imaging camera, built by e2v technologies of
Chelmsford, U.K., is designed specifically to help firefighters navigate through smokefilled buildings, pinpoint the source and spread of the flames, and detect fires hidden in cavity walls, floors and ceiling voids.

James H. Lamb, the team director at Alloy Ltd, of Farnham, England, who worked with e2v to design the camera, said the camera’s housing needed additional strength to withstand the rough handling it would receive from firefighters during reallife situations as well as the ability to resist damage from heat and water. “RADEL R-5100 was the right material for the job,” Lamb said. “It balanced the extreme toughness we needed with the ability to withstand high temperature.”

“Heat is very tough on plastics,” Lamb said. “Very few can withstand repeated exposure to high temperature and not be affected. This polymer is unique because it can take the heat time and time again without loosing any of its impact strength or
toughness,” he added. In addition to meeting the performance requirements, Lamb said RADEL R resin also was the product of choice by the tool designer company, Algram, who had prior experience in working with this material to produce medical and safety-related products. Engineered for use in especially harsh environments, RADEL R polyphenylsulfone has a high heat deflection temperature of 405 degrees Fahrenheit (207 degrees Celsius). It can withstand continuous exposure to heat and still absorb tremendous impact without cracking or breaking. Plus, its unparalleled chemical resistance among amorphous polymers brings a performance advantage to many applications.

RADEL R resin can be injection molded, vacuum formed or machined. In addition to its newest thermal image camera housing application, it is used in a wide assortment of medical and dental devices, safety equipment, pipe fittings, aircraft interiors, magnet wire insulation, and fiber optic connectors.
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