On the Natural Selection of High Performance Polymers

Ian Hamerton*, Rob J Iredale

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


The high performance polymer market can be a fickle one for manufacturers, subservient to the whims of the end user. The materials often serve narrow, exotic markets and are thus produced in significantly smaller quantities than their higher tonnage, commodity cousins. Often, these more expensive, thoroughbred materials tend to be acquired and divested more readily than more humble products that constitute the core business. For example, a cursory glance at the development of cyanate ester monomers, first reported in the 1960s by Bayer AG, shows that the business changed hands on no fewer than seven occasions during the intervening forty years. In this reflective essay, the development of a carefully selected group of high performance polymers is contrasted in order to identify the key elements that contribute to the success (or
failure) of a product.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-72
Number of pages36
Early online date28 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Dr Carwyn Ward, Bristol Composites Institute, for valuable discussions during the production?of?this?manuscript).?RI’s?research?was?supported?by?the?Engineering?and?Physical?Sciences?Research? Council through the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Composites for Innovation and Science [grant number EP/L016028/1].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Arkat. All rights reserved.


  • High performance polymers
  • Composites
  • Market forces
  • Evolution


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