Polyimide materials are lightweight, flexible, resistant to heat and chemicals. Therefore, they are used in the electronics industry for flexible cables, as an insulating film on magnet wire and for medical tubing. For example, in a laptop computer, the cable that connects the main logic board to the display (which must flex every time the laptop is opened or closed) is often a polyimide base with copper conductors.
The semiconductor industry uses polyimide as a high-temperature adhesive; it is also used as a mechanical stress buffer. Some polyimide can be used like a photoresist; both "positive" and "negative" types of photoresist-like polyimide exist in the market.
An additional use of polyimide resin is as an insulating and passivation layer in the manufacture of digital semiconductor and MEMS chips. The polyimide layers have good mechanical elongation and tensile strength, which also helps the adhesion between the polyimide layers or between polyimide layer and deposited metal layer. The minimum interaction between the gold film and the polyimide film, coupled with high temperature stability of the polyimide film, results in a system that provides reliable insulation when subjected to various types of environmental stresses.[Polyimide powder can be used to produce parts and shapes by sintering technologies (hot compression molding, direct forming, andisostatic pressing). Because of their high mechanical stability even at elevated temperatures they are used as bushings, bearings, sockets or constructive parts in demanding applications. To improve tribological properties compounds with solid lubricants like graphite, PTFE or molybdenum sulfide are common.
In coal-fired power plants, waste incinerators or cement plants, polyimide fibres are used to filter hot gases. In this application, a polyimide needle felt separates dust and particulate matter from the exhaust gas.
Multi-layer insulation used on spacecraft is usually made of polyimide coated with thin layers of aluminum. The gold-like material often seen on the outside of spacecraft is actually single aluminized polyimide, with the single layer of aluminum facing in.The yellowish-brown polyimide gives the surface its gold-like color.