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.
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