Acetal vs. UHMW

Compare Acetal and UHMW to identify the best option for your project

Differences Between Acetal and UHMW

Acetal (polyoxymethylene or POM) is a high strength, low friction engineering plastic that has excellent wear properties in both wet and dry environments. Acetal is chemically resistant to hydrocarbons, solvents, and neutral chemicals. Easy to machine, acetal makes an outstanding choice for applications that require complex, tight tolerances.

UHMW (ultra high molecular weight polyethylene) is an extremely tough plastic with high abrasion and wear resistance. The versatility of polyethylene has made it a popular plastic for countless industrial applications that require durability, low friction, and chemical resistance. Applications include wear strips, chain guides, packaging machinery parts, and marine dock fender pads.

Acetal Material Characteristics
  • Easy to machine
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Strong and stiff
  • Easy to fabricate
  • Good for friction and wear
  • Good electrical insulation
  • Sealing
  • Prototyping
  • Good for bearings
Acetal Applications:
  • Bearings and bushings
  • Pump and valve parts
  • Manifolds
  • Gears
  • Jigs and fixtures
  • Food processing and other packaging machinery parts
  • Wear pads
  • Electrical components
Acetal Common Brands
UHMW Material Characteristics
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Impact resistant
  • Easy to fabricate
  • Good for friction and wear
  • Good for bearings
  • Easy to machine
UHMW Applications:
  • Chute, hopper, and truck bed liners
  • Wear strips and guide rails
  • Star wheels and idler sprockets
  • High speed conveyors
  • Packaging machinery parts
  • Food processing machinery parts
  • Bumpers, pile guards, and dock fenders
UHMW Common Brands
  • Polystone® M, GUR®, Tivar®


Typical properties of ACETAL and UHMW
Tensile strength psi D638 10,000 9,800 3,100
Flexural modulus psi D790 420,000 370,000 110,000
Izod impact (notched) ft-lbs/in
of notch
D256 1.5 1.0 18.0*
Heat deflection
@ 264 psi
°F D648 257 230 -
Maximum continuous
service temperature
in air
°F   185 195 180
Water absorption
24 hours)
% D570 0.25 0.20 slight
Coefficient of
linear thermal
D696 6.8 6.1 11.1
Coefficient of
friction (dynamic)
    0.20 0.21 0.10 - 0.20

Values may vary according to brand name. Please ask your Curbell Plastics representative for more specific information about an individual brand. * Double-15° notch