Plastics are not all created equal. Here at Piedmont Plastics, we find that our clients sometimes do not fully understand the various products that are available to them. Two of the products that are often confused are Acetal and Delrin. Because they are so similar and are often interchangeable, they are also often confused with one another. Here is a closer look at these two products, what they can do, and which might be right for your specific application.
What Is Acetal?
Acetal copolymer is the slightly more affordable of the two. This plastic is a semi-crystalline polymer, which is strong enough to replace metal without the risk of rust. It is also lighter and more flexible in its design options than metal. It has low moisture absorption and tends to perform at a constant level regardless of environmental conditions.
What Is Delrin?
Delrin plastic is an acetal homopolymer. Like acetal copolymer, it is a great option to replace metal and is almost like a bridge between the world of metals and the world of plastics. It is slightly stronger and stiffer than acetal copolymer, and a higher tensile and impact strength at room temperature conditions. It has one flaw, and that is a lower density center when used in larger components.
Which Is Better?
In almost every application, Delrin plastic and acetal are interchangeable. They have similar properties that do not make much of an impact in most applications. Both products are quite slippery with a low coefficient of friction. Both are excellent when used to create bearings, and because they work well in wet environments they are often used in valve components. However, the centerline porosity, that thinner center found in Delrin, can be a problem, compromising the structural integrity of the sheet or rod slightly.
Because of this porosity, Delrin can absorb bacteria and is not usable for food processing applications. It may also allow the leakage of fluids and gas. Acetal does not have these concerns. That said, for applications beyond these, Delrin is a great choice, and it has more rigidity and tensile strength.
Determining whether Delrin or Acetal is the right material for your next project is not always easy, but the team at Piedmont Plastics is ready to help. Our sales professionals can guide you toward the products that will make your next project a success, helping you to understand the differences between these two products and how those differences will impact your final product.