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
A newly released form of Filled PEEK is now available. This PEEK is filled with PTFE and is called Unitrex Lf20, and it is filled with 20% PTFE. This new grade of PTFE Filled PEEK plastic was originally produced by Nytef Plastics. It is an extruded thermoplastic that comes in both rod and sheet form. This grade has significantly improved properties over the standard unfilled grades of PEEK. The PTFE filler provides excellent wear properties and has a very low co-efficient of friction, which makes this a great material for sliding and wear applications, and is made to last for long periods of abuse. Unitrex Lf20 has great machinability and dimensionally stability. It has a wide range of uses in such fields as medical, semi-conductor, and aerospace seals, where standard PEEK is too rigid. These properties enable this material to replace Polyimide (Vespel®) and PCTFE (formerly Kel-F) in many applications of high chemical resistance and the ductility for use in seals. This Filled PEEK works extremely well in Medical, Semi-Conductor and Aerospace Seal applications.
PTFE Filled PEEK vs. PTFE Filled Acetal
Comparable to Lf13 which is 13% PTFE filled Delrin® (Delrin® AF), which is also good for most of the same types of applications but cannot withstand the high temperatures than that of Unitrex Lf20. The PTFE Filled PEEK has a melting point of 650 degrees F while the PTFE Filled Delrin® – Unital® Lf13 has a melt point of 347 degrees F, making both materials high temperature plastics.
Because the Nytef Unitrex Lf20 is filled with PTFE (which has the lowest co-efficient of friction of any plastic), it is ideal for sliding and wear applications. It also has a kinetic and static friction resistance of 0.1 which makes it the perfect choice for jobs were heat from friction should not be generated and part longevity is critical. Unitrex Lf20 offers superior properties to many other plastics, such as high heat and chemical resistance but also great friction resistance along with improved properties to make it a great plastic for a wide spectrum of uses.
Why Change from Vespel SP-1 or PCTFE to Unitrex Lf20?
While this new PTFE Filled PEEK will not replace the Vespel SP-1 and PCTFE in all applications, it certainly will in many applications (see table for comparison). The main reason to make a change is, drum roll please, COST. The Unitrex Lf20 is up to 30% less expensive that the other materials. With similar and comparable properties, consider making the change.
Unitrex® Lf20 also exhibits a far superior chemical resistance to that of its Acetal counterpart due to PEEK having a far better range of chemical resistance to aqueous and organic environments as well as acids and alkalines. Acetal Copolymer tends to degrade when exposed to such chemicals like sulfuric acid and chlorine while PEEK only tends to be attacked by halogens and hydrocarbons such as in crude oils. For additional properties and to compare the Unitrex LF-20 to Dupont Vespel SP-1 and PCTFE see the table below. Here is a copy of the full data sheet on Nytef Unitrex Lf20.
Standard Properties Table
UnitrexLF20 Nominal Value
PCTFE(Kel-f) Nominal Value
VespelSP-1 Nominal Value
2.1 – 2.14
4,800 – 5,300
45 – 60 E
410 – 415
Kinetic Coef. of Friction
Static Coef. of Friction
For additional details on these and other materials, please contact us here or call us at 866-832-9315
Unitrex and Unital are registered trademarks of Polymer Industries Delrin and Vespel are registered trademarks of E.I. Dupont