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
Are Acetal Copolymer and Homopolymer Acetal the same?
This is one of our most common questions, and it is a bit involved of an answer.
There are two main versions of Acetal Resin
Homopolymer Acetal and Copolymer Acetal
The most popular name for a Homopolymer Acetal is the Dupont Delrin, which is a premium Homopolymer Acetal.
The second Acetal is a Copolymer acetal, and there are many suppliers of this resin.
Acetal is the generic, and not all Acetal is Delrin® Hompolymer, nor is it Acetal Copolymer. A distinction is required to determine which is best for your application. There are several manufacturers that produce Acetal Copolymer resin, including: Celanese®, BASF®, Ticona®, SABIC® and many more.
Acetal Copolymer compared to Delrin® Homopolymer Acetal
Delrin® is a premium homopolymer Acetal produced by Dupont. Many of the physical properties of the homopolymer exceed that of the copolymer Acetal. Dupont™ Delrin® is a popular acetal homopolymer brand name and the most commonly used acetal homopolymer.
The generic term ‘Acetal’ covers both the homopolymer from Dupont and the copolymer grades of resin. Both materials meet the ASTM-D-4181, ASTM-D-6100 or ASTM-D-6778 specification (an old call out is L-P-392). Homopolymer Acetal is POM111, and Copolymer Acetal is POM211.
Both are very tough and machinable, and have some similar properties.
An additional difference is the inherit problem of center-line porosity in some of the homopolymer grades. This is caused by out gassing during manufacturing, and can be found at the center or on the surface of all homo-polymer extrusions. This porosity can cause some problems with machining or moisture permeation through the material. The copolymer resin has little to no porosity issue.
Some of the other differences are in the physical properties of the resin. Review the chart for some of the most popular properties people ask for when looking at Acetal Copolymer or Homopolymer Acetal.
See Homopolymer and Copolymer Acetal properties chart below.
Tensile Modulus of Elasticity
Flexural Modulus of Elasticity
Heat Deflection Temp @ 264 psi – degrees F
Melting Point – degrees F
Coef. of Linear Thermal Expansion
6.8 x 10-5
5.4 x 10-5
Water Absorption @ Saturation
Material is available as both Acetal Copolymer or Acetal Homopolymer in Rod, Block, Sheet and Slabs.
Acetal is one of the most widely available plastics, especially on the West Coast (for some reason the East Coast seems to like the Nylon – Polyamide material more). Most commonly available in Natural (White) or Black, but can be produced in a wide range of colors with minimum orders. This enables material matching your product color or for easy identification of parts.
While these properties are similar, depending on your application, one material may be better suited than the other. Review our Delrin® Homopolymer and Acetal Copolymer page for additional information on the product availability and data sheets. We get calls for the premium Delrin® Homopolymer product, but some people may call it Delron, Delran, Delrun, Derlin and many other names, but it is still premium Delrin® Homopolymer Acetal to us.