Mylar is a type of man-made material manufactured by DuPont. Developed in the 1950s, Mylar has become a common alternative to older plastics such as cellophane and is used in many industries ranging from food service to computer technology. Mylar material offers high amounts of strength and resistance even when used in very thin sheets.
Mylar film is designed to be physically strong even under extreme temperatures. With a melting point of around 500 degrees Fahrenheit, the material is very adaptable to industrial applications. It is able to retain its functionality from -90 degrees to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
In addition to being resistant to extreme temperatures, Mylar material also has very good shear and strain resistance. It is more stable than comparable materials such as nylon and polyolefin. A 5-mm-thick Mylar sheet has a shear strength of 15 kg/mm squared. This means that it can resist pressures up to 15 kg per square mm.
Mylar material is very resistant to chemical agents and solvents. Oil and grease particles are unable to penetrate a Mylar sheet 1 mm or thicker. Most liquids, with the exception of extremely harsh chemicals such as hydrochloric acid, are completely unable to penetrate Mylar film.
Standard Mylar is also resistant to moisture, vapor and gas. Mylar film immersed in water for 24 hours absorbs no more than 0.8 percent moisture. In cases where improved chemical resistance is required, the material can be coated with metal to create a nearly impervious compound sheet.
Mylar film has favorable dielectric strength properties. Dielectric strength indicates the amount of electricity that the material can accommodate before its insulation breaks down. A sheet of Mylar has higher dielectric strength the less thick it is. This means that the material is able to hold up against electricity, even when it is spread thinly.
When alternating current passes through a material, it can destroy the surface if the voltage is high enough. The resistance of Mylar allows a 9-mm-thick sheet to withstand 1,000 volts alternating current before this breakdown occurs. This property makes Mylar one of the most electrically resistant of all plastic materials.
Untreated Mylar has optical specifications very similar to common window glass. This means that 90 percent or more of light is able to pass through the material. Like all films, Mylar causes light to refract, or bend, slightly. The refractive index of Mylar is 1.6, which is again similar to standard glass. When Mylar sheets with higher amounts of optical opaqueness are needed, several layers of the material can be combined in order to achieve the desired effect.
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