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 sheet, rod, and tube | UHMW-PE colored sheets

Acetal Material Characteristics

UHMW Material Characteristics

• Good chemical resistance
• Easy to fabricate
• Good for friction and wear
• Easy to machine
• Good for bearings
• Strong and stiff
• Good electrical insulation
• Low moisture absorption
• Good chemical resistance
• Easy to fabricate
• Good for friction and wear
• Easy to machine
• Good for bearings

Acetal Applications

UHMW Applications

• Bearings and bushings
• Pump and valve parts
• Manifolds
• Gears
• Jigs and fixtures
• Food processing and other packaging machinery parts
• Wear pads
• Electrical components
• 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
• Material handling machinery parts
• Bumpers, pile guards, and dock fenders

Acetal Common Brands

UHMW Common Brands

• Delrin®, SUSTARIN®, TECAFORM® • Polystone® M, Tivar®, GUR®, LubX®

Typical Properties of Acetal vs. UHMW

Property Units ASTM Test
Homopolymer Acetal Copolymer Acetal UHMW-PE
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 temperature (264 psi) °F D648 257 230 -
Maximum continuous service temperature in air °F - 185 195 180
Water absorption (immersion 24 hours) % D570 0.25 0.20 slight
Coefficient of linear thermal expansion in/in/°Fx10-5 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.

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