Acetal Copolymer vs Dupont Delrin® Homopolymer: Properties and Benefits of Each
Industrial Plastic Supply, Inc. has been supplying a vast inventory of plastics to a wide customer base since 1975. Today, we put the spotlight on two products that are incredibly similar, but have key differences that result in each performing optimally in certain applications: the Acetal Copolymer and the Delrin® Homopolymer.
Both of these acetal materials are incredibly similar, with similar beneficial properties. They are both compliant with FDA, ITAR, and RoHS standards. Both are very stiff plastics with excellent dimensional stability in average environments. They are self-lubricating, easy to cut with standard tools, and abrasion and wear resistant. The major differences between them however are a result of their differing structures.
What Is Polyoxymethylene
Polyoxymethylene (also known as POM for short) is an important and commonly used engineering plastic material. There are two distinct types of POM; the first is Homopolymer Acetal and is commonly called Dupont Delrin®. The other is Copolymer Acetal and is referred to by the trade names Celcon®, Sustarin® C, Tecaform®, Ultraform®, Kepital® and many others. Both versions of POM are very popular thermoplastic materials. They both are commonly used for parts that need to be stiff, dimensionally stable and have low surface friction.
The homopolymer possesses much more regularity in its structure, with a repeated, crystalline pattern throughout the plastic. As a result of its strong, crystalline makeup, the Delrin® Homopolymer has superior physical properties, such as better fatigue and creep resistance, and bearing properties. Also, it has better short-term heat resistance compared to the acetal copolymer, with a much higher melting point.
However, this homopolymer does experience minor and inherent center-line porosity. This is basically a band area of tiny porous holes along the center of a rod or sheet. Depending on the severity of the porosity, these holes could weaken a finished part or cause other problems with its performance.
We’ve found that our customers tend to gravitate towards the acetal copolymer when they require a wider processing window, lower costs, and better long-term resistance to heat and alkaline environments. The acetal copolymer is not as crystalline in its structure, which causes it to not only have a generally lower melting point, but when incorporated with other materials, also increases the tolerance for high melting temperatures.
The less crystalline structure of the copolymer means that this plastic isn’t quite as strong. However, its mixed molecular structure has several benefits. The acetal copolymer has improved resistance to oxidation, improved chemical resistance, and much better long-term resistance to heat. That difference in chemical resistance is much more pronounced with exposure to hot water, especially chlorinated water. The acetal copolymer survives much longer than the homopolymer in these conditions.
Both the Acetal Copolymer and the Delrin® Homopolymer have their benefits. Depending on your application and requirements, you can choose the best acetal based plastic for your needs. In need of a supplier of plastics and plastic materials? Check out the rest of Industrial Plastic Supply today!
High Standards And Procurement From Reliable U.S. Manufacturers
Industrial Plastic Supply Inc. is ISO-9001:2015 certified. This benefits our customers since this certification communicates that we take quality and consistency seriously. We distinguish ourselves by providing Acetal Copolymer rods and sheets of exceptional quality over and over again so customers don’t have to wonder what they are getting when they do business with us.
American sourcing is another point of pride. In a time of global trade, a distributor may choose to do business with suppliers outside the U.S.. However, we believe that American quality and standards are top of the line. As such, our Acetal Copolymer is sourced from U.S. manufacturers. Our business partners – customers and vendors alike – can take pride knowing that their investments and dealings with Industrial Plastic Supply benefits U.S. customers, employees, and communities.
U.S. Sourcing Advantage
The benefit to customers in sourcing plastic from U.S. producers is more than patriotic or sentimental. Fact is, supply chains are more delicate than many of us imagine. Whether due to natural disasters, materials shortages, or politics, supply chains can fray and even snap. When that happens, price predictability and long-term supply/shipping agreements are thrown into disarray. Customers don’t want to hear excuses and “maybes” after they have signed contracts, paid money, and anticipate Acetal Copolymer products.
We pride ourselves on stocking and providing quality North American made Acetal Copolymer produced under the trade names: Tecaform® AH, Sustarin® C and ZL® 900. Each of these quality brand names are widely known for exceptional quality, consistency and durability.
Why Acetal Copolymer Is A Good Investment
Acetal Copolymer Performance Plastic
Acetal Copolymer is FDA compliant, opening up its use for food processing and packaging. The material is also stiff, resilient, and abrasion-resistant to a very high degree. Industrial Plastic Supply provides Acetal Copolymer materials in natural (white), black, and blue. Its stiffness and ability to hold shape under harsh conditions means that Acetal Copolymer sheets and rods can be shaped with standard cutting tools. This quality Copolymer Acetal material is FDA and NSF approved.
There are several special grades of Acetal that are formulated for tough food processing applications. Acetal Copolymer is available in a food grade blue for optical detection during food processing. This eliminates broken parts from getting into finished food products. There are also ultra detectable grades that are visual, x-ray and metal detectable for high end food processing applications. Contact us for more information on these special materials.
Automotive, Aerospace, and Medical Use
This plastic has exceptional ability to hold shape under stress, making it an excellent product in automotive and aerospace hardware. Gears, rollers, fuel lines, pumps and medical equipment all make use of Acetal Copolymer. However, care must be taken that the Acetal Copolymer is not exposed to temperatures above roughly 230 Fahrenheit (110 Celsius).
There are several factors to keep in mind when handling Acetal Copolymer:
Upon intense heating, Acetal Copolymer releases formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.
If machining or grinding, small Acetal Copolymer dust particles pose an inhalation and explosion hazard.
Prolonged exposure to UV light degrades Acetal Copolymer exposed surfaces and may change physical resilience.
Therefore, proper procedures must be taken when handling and machining this material. This is something Industrial Plastic Supply Inc. takes very seriously, not just for compliance reasons but also for the health and well being of our employees, customers, and ultimately the end-users.
Contact Industrial Plastic Supply for Acetal Copolymer
Industrial Plastic Supply Inc. is proud to be a distributor of Acetal Copolymer and other polymers. Contact us today for a quote and details about products, delivery, prices, and more. Call us @ 866-832-9315
Gehr Plastics Announces Huge 24″ Diameter Acetal Rod
Gehr Plastics is an industry leader in large high performance plastic materials. They announced at this years IAPD Conference in San Diego, the new production of 24″ diameter (600mm) Natural Copolymer Acetal Rod.
Being an industry leader is more than making the largest material, it is also about making the best quality material. Gehr Plastics is ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 approved and certified, guaranteeing a consistently high quality product. The product line that Gehr Plastics produces is also quite large. The materials include: ABS, Acetal (POM-C and POM-H), HDPE, Kynar, Noryl, Nylon, PEEK, PEI, Polypropylene, Polysulfone, PPO, PVC (Type 1, Type 2 and CPVC), PVDF and Ultem materials. All of these materials are available in a wide range of sizes, and yes, some of the largest.
Gehr Plastics Long History
Gehr Plastics has been leading the industry in innovation since 1932, and is now in the third generation of family owned and operation. From the wide range of materials to the extremes in size range, this is cutting edge performance from a family run company. They also released a web-app for picking plastic materials, Gehr Plastic Selection Tool, and it is also available for mobile devices. This comparison tool compares not only plastics, but metals as well, for a great look at the best physical properties for an application.
While quality and size are keystones to excellence, Gehr Plastics is also interested in materials that the rest of the industry has not
Large Cast Nylon Type 6 Rod
considered. Over the last several years, Gehr has produced some PLA materials (made from plants) and even a Clear Nylon Rod for higher temperature sight-glass applications. These are just a few of the cutting edge areas that Gehr Plastics is leading in this industry.
Industrial Plastics is Master Distributor
Gehr Plastics materials are sold through a tight network of Master Distributors throughout the United States. Industrial Plastic Supply, Inc. of Anaheim, CA is proud to be one of the top selected suppliers of these innovative materials. Contact us for any of these high quality and wide size range materials, call us @ 866-832-9315 or send us a note here.
Is HDPE Sheet and Acetal Homopolymer Sheet the same?
Here is another popular question asked by our clients. Is HDPE the same as Acetal Copolymer / Delrin Acetal Homopolymer? No, they are two totally different materials. Although the natural color of both is a milky white to opaque white, and they do look a bit similar, they are not. (HDPE is milky white to almost translucent depending on thickness, and the Acetal materials are a more opaque white to slightly milky – once again depending on thickness . See picture below of .500″ thick samples of HDPE and Acetal sheets)
HDPE and Acetal – Some Differences
The HDPE sheet and rod is a softer material, and is commonly known for its FDA certification and used in numerous food applications, such as: one gallon milk jugs, cutting boards, colored water glasses/cups, and many, many more. While it can be machined, because it is a bit softer and lighter, the tolerances it can be machined to are not very tight. It is not bondable, so it makes a great non-stick surface for sticky foods and adhesives.
The Acetal Copolymer and the premium Delrin® Acetal Homopolymer also have FDA certification, and are used heavily in the food processing industry. This material is a more mechanical material and is used in bearing and wear applications, cams, feeder screws, etc. This material is can be machined to tight tolerances, and will wear for long periods without lubrication. Due to its exceptional wear properties, it is not bondable, thus requiring mechanical fastening or threads to assemble. It has a very low water absorption, and you will find it in your toilet tank as the white moving parts in the filler mechanism. It is an extremely popular material for machinists, as it works much like soft brass.
While HDPE Sheet and Acetal Sheet look similar, they perform quite a bit differently.
While both materials are FDA approved, are machinable and can be used to make rigid wear resistant parts, they are two different resins and have drastically different physical properties. Another major difference is in the weight of these items, HDPE sheet and rod material weighs about 35% less than the Acetal sheet and rod material. Please check the data sheets for more information to assist in proper material selection.Acetal Data Sheet and HDPE Sheet Data
Acetal is commonly known as: Delrin Homopolymer Acetal, Tecaform AH,Ensital, Unital, Pomalux, Ultraform and many more.
HDPE is also known as: Ultraethylux,Densetec, Polystone G, Fortiflex, Versadur, Hostalen, and many more.
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.