Which Plastic Sheet or Rod Material is right for me?
Mechanical Acetal Sheet
This not an easy question to answer. Several different factors come into play when choosing the right plastic for your application. Temperature, strength, exposure to the elements and even time spent at elevated temperatures are just a few factors to consider when choosing the right plastic for a particular project or job.
Picking the right plastic for your application is critical for its success and longevity and needed to insure that the material doesn’t fail in critical situations. From the onset it may take a bit of time to choose the right plastic material, but will ultimately pay off in the long run. Simply choosing the cheapest plastic sheet or rod may spell disaster for your project.
Many plastics are resistant to chemical attacks. Some plastics however are not. Two examples of plastic that have low resistance to chemicals are Acetal Copolymer and Nylon. Acetal and Nylon are both a great machining plastics with excellent wear resistance and impact strength. However, when exposed to chlorine or alkaline they tend to become brittle which can cause failure and if used in such instances as plumbing, can lead to major problems such as flooding. Nylon does have good resistance to many chemicals but will degrade when exposed to acids especially sulfuric. A plastic that would work better for applications involving the use of chlorine or acids is UHMW. UHMW has some of the same properties as Acetal such as wear resistance, ease of machining and are both self lubricating. UHMW often is an alternative for Acetal and Nylon, especially when it comes to chemical attacks.
Many plastic sheet and rod materials to choose from
Another plastic that can fail if used in the wrong application is Acrylic. Acrylic is a great plastic for displays and decorative purposes and is a natural replacement for window glass. However, it is brittle and has very low impact strength as opposed to Polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is a great plastic for impact strength, probably the best in the plastic family. It is 25 times stronger than
Massive Selection of Performance Plastic Rod
Acrylic and this makes it ideal for bullet resistant glass and riot shields, while Acrylic would be useless for those critical jobs. However, Acrylic has better U.V. resistance than Polycarbonate Plastic Sheet which makes it better for use outdoors over longer periods of time because it is invisible to sunlight. Another plastic that cannot handle U.V. rays is Polypropylene. Polypropylene unlike Acetal has excellent chemical and moisture resistance. However, unlike Acrylic, it becomes brittle in sunlight and starts to craze or crack when exposed over a period of time while Acrylic would last many years longer. Even though Polypropylene is a very rigid and stiff material, with good impact and crack resistance, if exposed to the elements for a period of time, it will not retain its properties and a chemical chain reaction will cause the material to eventually fail. Polypropylene is great at handling chemicals and food applications which neither Acrylic nor Polycarbonate Sheet are well suited because for this application, because they don’t have good chemical resistance and the standard grades are not approved for handling food.
These are just some examples of the differences between plastic resins and it is important to note that just because one plastic works for one application, it may not work for another. All factors must be considered and taken into account, maybe even some trial and error. This will insure that your project will go smoothly and will be able to last through many years of use, saving time, money and patience.
Contact us for more examples of materials and the differences between specific items. Also, we have a great tool to help you in choosing the proper plastic material for your application, check out our free Plastic Material Selector Guide. We would also welcome your email inquiries or call us at: 866-832-9315.
A wide variety of plastics are available in sheet form.
The term: ‘Plastic Sheet‘ or ‘Plastic Sheets’ is more of a general statement covering over a hundred types of plastic materials and plastic products. Some of the most popular plastic materials made as a sheet are:
In addition to the wide range of plastic materials available as plastic sheet, most of these materials are also available as: thin gauge or film, strip, plate, block, slab and plastic panels. The thin gauge or film materials are frequently available with or without a pressure sensitive adhesive also called ‘tape’. Sheet in some materials is available over 4.0″ thick and perhaps as thick as 8.0″ thick in a few materials. The standard sheet size on most of our plastic sheets is either 24″ X 48″ or the larger 48″ X 96″ sheet size; although some materials are available as: 48″ X 120″, 60″ X 96″ or 72″ X 96″. Contact us with with questions on your required piece sizes, we are happy to provide plastic sheets cut to size.
While there are lots and lots of different materials available as plastic sheet, there may only be one or two materials that are right for your application. We want to assist with your search. If you need help choosing the proper plastic material for your application, check out our free Plastic Material Selector Guide. Also, feel free to contact us for further assistance. As a leading plastic sheet distributor since 1975, we feel that we are your best choice as your new plastic sheet and sheets supplier. Give us a call at 866-832-9315.
There are hundreds of plastic manufacturers, and even more plastic sheet, rod and tube suppliers.
What makes one better or worse than another? Some of the biggest differences are in the quality of the materials they have in stock. Not all manufacturers are the same. Some produce very inexpensive materials for the disposable trade. A few supply high quality materials from the big names in the plastic industry.
We buy only from American companies. Our suppliers and warehouses are all here, in the USA. While several of our factories have parent companies in Western Europe, they manufacture the bulk of their materials here in the states. With the NAFTA requirements, we are able to provide certification to all our materials.
American Made Quality Makes A Difference
As you probably know, materials made in areas around the world don’t have the same quality control systems that we have here. We have seen materials from suppliers not in the USA or Western Europe, and have chosen to not carry any of these materials – they just don’t measure up to Made In The USA! We believe that that American Made still means something, and it transfers to the materials we supply.
Since 1975 we have partnered with the best manufacturers, with the best industrial, machinable, mechanical and professional grades of plastic materials available in the marketplace. Quality names like: Westlake Plastics, Ensinger Plastics, Gehr Plastics, Roechling Plastics, Polymer Industries, Spartech Plastics, Z/L Plastics, Plaskolite, and many, many more. None of these are suppliers are newcomers, most of our suppliers have been in business producing excellent quality plastic sheet and rod for over 50 years. We are the new guys, as we started in 1975!
Buy From An Establish Plastics Professional
Industrial Plastic Supply of Anaheim California
How can you tell if your plastics are ‘quality’ pieces of plastic? It is a bit tough to tell by just looking, and that is what the low quality suppliers and manufacturers count on. Sometimes the only way to tell is by cutting or machining a part. We have cut into materials that literally break when a saw blade comes into contact. Some materials have stress levels so high they bow significantly as we cut through the material. See article on Stress In Plastics.
These high internal stresses show up during machining as warping, changes in tolerance, large movement in part size and stress fractures. We have seen parts move by over 5% after part was machined and within 12 hours. This picture shows a piece of glass filled nylon from one of the ‘upstarts’ in the industry. As a test, we were cutting some strips. As you can see, the part has such a high stress level that it warped away from the rest of the sheet as we cut it. This is very dangerous for a person cutting or machining, as it can stop a blade or break free and strike an employee. We chose not to buy from this new company.
Plastic Sheet and rods Proudly American Made
We have been around the block a few times, and we know most of the things that will cause you problems in a material. That is why we only buy from the big guys, the high quality material manufacturers, the well known – tried and true manufacturers. We buy from the experts, the professionals, the leaders in our plastics industry. Supplying industrial grade plastics to machine shops may seem like an easy thing. We treat this process with the respect it deserves; your parts are important to you and your customers. We won’t let you down by providing unacceptable grades of plastic materials. Our parts aren’t stressed out!
Call on us today – 866-832-9315 and ask for a Plasticologist, or email us for more information about the quality materials we supply.
Today’s topic is all about industrial plastic sheet materials in flat sheet or sheets. Also known as plate, slab, strip and bar.
Most plastic materials are processed into sheets or rods. Rods are round, sheet is flat, square or rectangular. These two basic shapes are both generally extruded, although sheet can also be compression molded. Almost all plastic raw materials are available in sheet, and in a huge range of sizes. Most materials are available from .063″ to over 4″ in thickness; and some as thick as 8″ (how to measure thickness accurately, use a 6-Inch Digital Caliper with Extra-Large LCD). Sheet sizes vary, but generally most plastics are produced in 48″ X 96″ sheets or larger, but once again this changes with types of materials and thickness desired. We can help with almost any plastic material.
Need Help Picking a Plastic Sheet Material?
Deciding on the proper material for an application is the first step. Start by reviewing our Plastic Materials Selection Guide to help narrow your search. Having the key properties and needs of your project in mind will help you with this step. Also looking at both the pro’s and con’s of a material will assist in this search. Materials with the greatest property range can be extremely expensive, selecting a material that meets your needs and your budget should be considered.
Step two is researching sizes and availability – this is where we can really help. With most of the major manufacturers as partners, we are able to source your parts from many factories. While the quality from most factories is excellent, the variable is standard and custom sheet sizes. We also stock a wide variety of materials in large sheets. One of our many manufacturers is Westlake Plastics. They have been compression molding large sized sheets of many popular plastic resins; these sheets are available in 48″ X 120″ as a standard sheet size in most plastics. They produce these materials from .250″ – 3.0″ thick or thicker. Other manufacturers produce 24″ X 48″ or 48″ X 96″ sheets as standard. Please contact us for specifics on your material selection.
Mechanical Acetal Sheet
Most of our plastic resins are available as a sheet. This includes some of the most popular plastics, like: Polycarbonate Sheet, Acetal Sheet, PTFE Sheet, Ultem Sheet and dozens more. Sometimes, Plastic sheet is called: Plate, Strip, Bar, Slab, Block or Panel. Please think of these names as being synonyms with Plastic Sheet. Contact us with your special requirements.
In thicker gauges, plastics are frequently referred to as plate, slab or block. And strips or narrow pieces are called bar. A rose by any other name, call it what you will, the plastic starts as a flat sheet from the factory. We can cut them to size or shape. Blanking of sheets to useable sizes is our specialty. Narrow pieces used for long applications are normally called strip. Strip is common in wear type applications.
For a list of materials we have as standard stock materials, check our Plastic Sheets Page. These and many other plastic materials are available, and custom sizes, shapes and colors vary by base material. As a stocking distributor for dozens of major manufactures, we are the West Coasts leading plastic sheet supplier or distributor. If you are in need of some technical assistance go to our Plasticologist page for specific help.
Contact us for more information on plastic sheet materials. Email us or call 866-832-9315
Delrin® Homopolymer Acetal compared with Acetal Copolymer
Many of our clients assume that Delrin® rod and Acetal rod are the same thing. This is not true.
Yes, all Dupont Delrin® rod is Homopolymer Acetal rod, but not all Acetal rod is Delrin® rod.
Delrin® is the trade name for Homopolymer Acetal made by Dupont. Dupont™ Delrin ® is a popular acetal homopolymer brand name and the most commonly used acetal homopolymer.
This is the most recognized of all trade names for Acetal materials, but not the only available Acetal material. The Copolymer Acetal resin is produced by a wide variety of large plastic manufacturers, BASF is probably one of the largest and most well known. Some main resin names are: BASF Ultraform® H4320, Kepital® F10-02, Hostaform® M25 and many others.
While Delrin® Homopolymer Acetal is a wonderful material, in a larger cross sections Homopolymer can exhibit center line porosity, or ‘soft centers’. This can sometimes be seen with the naked eye, and is a darker white in a normally milky white natural colored material. This center line porosity can cause problems in some applications. This porosity can cause leakage of fluid if under pressure, or soft center’s of homopolymer rod and sheet.
This should not stop you from considering Delrin® Homopolymer Acetal though. Many other properties of the homopolymer resins are superior to the copolymer resins. These properties are:
Typical Value Unfilled Homo-Polymer
Typical Value Unfilled Co-Polymer
Tensile Strength Yield
9,600 – 11,000
9,000 – 10,200
Izod Impact – Notched
Hardness – Rockwell
Deflection Temp @ 264psi
Deflection Temp @ 66 psi
Water Absorption @ 24 hrs
Co. Thermal Expansion
Some key properties for homopolymer acetal are: higher tensile strength, increased Izod impact, higher deflection temperatures and it is slightly harder. The co-efficient of thermal expansion is a bit higher, and needs to be considered when designing a new part. Extruded Delrin® brand homopolymer resin material also comes in several resin variations, including: Delrin® 150 and Delrin® 507, contact us for details. Dupont™ Delrin® is a popular acetal homopolymer brand name and the most commonly used acetal homopolymer.
Many of our clients prefer the homopolymer rod and sheet for small machined parts. This is due to the increase in a few key properties, and of course brand recognition. Some of our major brand names for quality Copolymer Acetal (POM-C) sheet and Rod include: Tecaform AH®, Sustarin C®, ZL 900® and Pomalux®.
Both resins meet the standard ASTM-D-6778, and the cancelled specs, L-P-395 and ASTM-D-4181. Contact us for certification and specifications you may require.
The Acetal family of plastic resins are excellent for wear resistance, great mechanical strength, and superior machining properties. It is available in a huge range of sizes and shapes. Click here for more details on Acetal – Homopolymer Acetal Rod, and sometimes referred to as plastic dowel. We also have the capacity to supply colored Acetal Copolymer or Delrin® Homopolymer Acetal rod; click here from more details on the colored Acetal material.
Similar materials to Acetal Copolymer – Homopolymer Acetal are Nylon Rod, PET Rod and Noryl® Rod. Most materials are available as round rod, square rod, bar, strip, sheet and plate.
When we think of plastic, we think of plastic bags you get at the grocery store or maybe your child’s toy that’s made out of cheap throw away material. If you stop and think about it, plastic is everywhere and it’s uses are almost infinite. Take Acetal Copolymer, it is a plastic that replaces metal in numerous applications and is used to make gears, screws and other hard working parts. Consider PTFE for instance which is used to coat your frying pan to make it non-stick, make steam valves and fittings, and chemical resistant parts. Another material is Polycarbonate or Lexan® (a SABIC brand name -formerly G.E. Plastics) which is used to replace glass because it is shatter resistant and is also used for bullet resistant glazing and riot shields. Even the cup of coffee you grab for every morning is made of foamed Styrene – Styrofoam. But plastic has shaped our lives in countless ways, many of them you might not even think of or notice.
Plastics play a big part in the world of medicine. Some other advancements in the area of medicine include assisting people with debilitating injuries and serious afflictions, helping them feel more comfortable and move easier. Prosthetic limbs and joint replacements have come along way since the old days of metal and wood. Since the late 90’s UHMW or (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) has become the standard in hip and joint replacements. With plastics like UHMW, which has great wear resistance, excellent strength and very low co-efficient of friction (very slippery), it has made people who need these surgeries have better mobility and better quality of life. These plastics also make prosthetic limbs lighter and stronger for athletes who wish to compete and lead near normal active lifestyles due to the use of plastic polymers (derived from the Greek meaning ‘many parts’) mimicking human flexibility. Prosthetic devices date all the way back to the ancient Egyptians where they used leather and wood for toe and foot replacements. But thanks to today’s technologies and advancements in as plastic, most amputees and athletes can regain their quality of life and enabling them to do what they love.
What has Medical Plastic Done For You Lately?
Another plastic material that has changed the medical field is PEEK (Polyetheretherketone). This material is a newer plastic which has high chemical resistance along with excellent high continuous temperature resistance of up to 480 degrees fahrenheit. PEEK has replaced many metal devices in the medical field, because PEEK is one of the only thermoplastics (plastic which can be bent or shaped) able to withstand high doses of radiation over an extended lifetime. In addition PEEK is used to help many people awaiting kidney transplants because it is used to make a critical component in dialysis machines. These machines need to clean the blood over a period of several hours and because of this, PEEK is the natural solution, as it can be steam cleaned time and time again with little effect on the material. Along with its great chemical, temperature, and fluid handling stability, PEEK is USP Class VI, making it ideal for these types of medical applications. The natural color of PEEK is a beige to tan and is available in sheet and rod. One of the largest manufacturers of PEEK resin is Victrex and their 450G resin.
Plastics In Medicine – Everyday
Plastic materials have become apart of our lives and has changed the way we take care of the sick and injured, how we protect our foods from germs, and prolong the storage of foods. Plastics protect medical instruments and insure they are sterile. It has made people’s lives better in both the short and long term. It has helped reduce pain, gain better movement and has given people their confidence back. The values of plastic can not be understated and in the future, hopefully plastics will save or prolong many more lives through advancements in technology and the limitless possibilities it presents.
For more information on these and other medical grade plastics like: Clear Nylon (look for blog post on this), Ultem, Polysulfone, Radel and more, contact us. E-mail us or call 866-832-9315