Navigating the Challenges: AI's Impact on Data Centers and Engineered Materials


In this era of rapid technological advancements, artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a transformative force capable of revolutionizing industries and reshaping the way we perceive and interact with technology. This revolutionary technology brings new challenges particularly for the backbone of these AI systems – data centers.

Meeting the challenges posed by the surge in data volume, computational demands, energy consumption and latency requirements is essential for unlocking the full potential of AI. As data centers evolve to address these challenges, collaboration among industry stakeholders is crucial.

Among the most significant stakeholders from the perspective of the engineered materials industry are manufacturers of electrical and electronic components. Rapid adoption of AI demands smaller, lighter and thinner components that perform reliably while meeting rigid safety standards.

Ascend Performance Materials has developed a broad portfolio of material solutions to support this shift.

Starflam® flame retardant polyamides offer exceptional performance, design freedom and safety across a broad range of data center applications, including circuit protectors, terminal blocks, housings and connectors.

Circuit Protection

Industrial circuit protection devices, such as switch gears, contactors, and circuit breakers, handle some of the toughest electrical demands requiring materials that perform well over time. Our flame-retardant engineered plastics are designed to balance electrical and physical properties and our cross-linkable Starflam X-Protect products offer high heat performance unmatched by any other PA66. Starflam 525 H & K heat stabilized products offer RTI Electrical property retention performance at 140° C, also unmatched by any other PA66.

  • Non-halogenated flame-retardant products
  • Desirable UL properties: CTI 600V, RTI 140°C; GWFI > 850°C
  • High modulus, excellent ductility and low warpage
  • Custom precolor available and laser marking (UV and Near-IR) capable
  • Easy molding
  • Improved creep resistance at elevated temperatures with cross-linkable grades

Terminal Blocks

The Starflam portfolio offers a variety of unfilled and glass reinforced products with high RTI, improved elongation, UL V-0 at 0.2mm, and high CTI. Starflam 366H and 377H offer best in class thermal stability, and are compliant with EN45545 Eouropean passenger rail standards. Other benefits include:

  • Environmentally friendly non-halogenated flame-retardant products
  • High temperature performance with up to 150°C RTI
  • Next generation material with >10% elongation
  • Custom precolor available and laser marking capable
  • UL V-0 at 0.2mm from FR technology and high flow performance
  • Electrical tracking resistance (CTI PLC 0)

Electrical Component Housings

Ascend's products offer easy processing, good colorability, excellent flame-retardant and thermal properties to meet strict industrial and consumer electrical safety standards. Highly reinforced Starflam grades have been used in applications where thermosets were traditionally used.

  • Non-halogenated flame-retardant products
  • Excellent high-temperature performance with 150°C relative thermal index (RTI)
  • Low plate-out and fast cycle time for low-cost production
  • Available in precolor and laser markable options
  • UL V-0 at 0.25 ~ 0.4 mm from flame-retardant technology and high-flow performance
  • Highly reinforced product with modulus that is comparable to thermosets

High Voltage Connectors

High voltage connectors are vital components in power infrastructure like power distribution and battery backup systems for continuous uninterrupted power to servers. They need to provide electrical insulation and mechanical performance during repeated and prolonged exposure to elevated temperatures while also being compatible with the electronics in close proximity. Ascend provides a range of materials with electrically neutral heat stabilization, various glass fiber reinforcement levels and, if required, a V0 flammability rating. Orange colors as a safety signal can be incorporated into many of these grades.

  • Excellent short and long-term mechanical performance
  • Very good processing performance
  • Electrically neutral heat stabilizer
  • Excellent insulation properties
  • Flammability rating from HB to V0 @ 0.4 mm
  • Color stability at high voltages and temperatures

We are committed to reducing the environmental footprint of our products across the board and providing you sustainable solutions to meet your goals faster. We partner with our customers to develop materials based on their specific requirements, including carbon footprint and performance needs. 

As a full-service engineered material solutions provider, Ascend is committed to being an industry leader in product performance and technical support. We offer global manufacturing and distribution, a vertically integrated material and supply chain, CAE services, analytical labs and field technical services designed to bring value to our customers. From the beginning of material selection and part design through molding of finished parts, we are ready to help you drive innovation, advance technology and ensure safety across every product you design.