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Assignment No. 1


Name : Muhammad Jawwad Qureshi

Course : MSc Polymer Science and


ID No. : 02024884

Tutor Name: Dr. Mark Alger

Subject : Mechanical Properties &

Material Selection


Defining Engineering Plastics

Engineering plastics are one of the many different types of plastics. This report
consist an overview of these specialized materials, including property comparisons
and identifying which are suitable for moulding.

Many commonly moulded plastics sharing similar characteristics fall into the category
of engineering plastics. Understanding the similarities and differences of these
materials helps both in moulding and making selections for specific applications.

A simple way to classify thermoplastics is as a triangle i.e. grouping the materials

according to structure and properties. From top to bottom, the materials are ranked by
their relative heat resistance. The left to right division is based on polymer chain
structure, either amorphous or crystalline. Amorphous materials have a random,
spaghetti-like molecular structure. Semi-crystalline materials have areas of highly
organized molecular chains.

In general, crystalline thermoplastics are stronger, stiffer,

more dimensionally stable, and more resistant to heat, wear,
chemicals and creep than amorphous materials. The
advantages of amorphous materials are transparency,
increased toughness at low temperatures and the ability to be
thermoformed into parts.

Standard plastics are at the bottom of the triangle and are

generally used for non-critical, low-stress applications, where
temperatures do not exceed 150F.

Engineering plastics, however, have higher strength and can

be used for applications where temperatures do not exceed
When high resistance 250F. These materials are widely used for general-purpose
to wear, such as for structural (amorphous) or bearing and wear (crystalline)
sheaves, cams, gears applications.
and bearings, a wear-
resistant nylon and Materials with heat resistance to temperatures between 250F
Acetal is often the and 450F can be grouped as advanced engineering plastics. In
material of choice. addition to heat resistance, these materials typically have
better chemical resistance (crystalline) and steam resistance
(amorphous) than the engineering plastics.

At the top of the triangle are the imidized plastics, which perform at temperatures up
to 800F under extreme stress or wear conditions.

If the basic requirements of an application are known, the triangle concept can be
used to narrow the appropriate materials to a few choices. To distinguish between
materials within a category, specific properties should be evaluated.

Heat Resistance

Two temperatures generally are considered in evaluating heat resistance: continuous

use temperature and heat deflection temperature.

Continuous use temperature (CUT) is the temperature above which the physical
properties of a material degrade after prolonged exposure. It is the maximum
temperature recommended for long-term service.

Heat deflection temperature (HDT) is an indication of the softening temperature of a

material under a load usually 264 psi, according to the ASTM method. In moderately-
to highly-stressed applications, materials should not be used above their HDT.

Of all the engineering plastics, polycarbonate (an amorphous material) is the most
heat-resistant, with a CUT of 250F. Nylon, PBT and PET (crystalline materials) can
be used continuously at over 200F. The other engineering plastics generally are not
recommended for continuous use at over 180F, although there are some special heat-
resistant grades that can be used at slightly higher temperatures. For temperatures
greater than 250F, materials in the advanced engineering plastic range are

Strength and Stiffness

Strength is measured by the stress requirement to deform a material in tension,

compression or flex. Tensile strength is the most common measurement used to
evaluate strength. Stiffness is a measurement of how much a material will deform
when a load is applied, indicated by tensile modulus, compressive modulus, or
flexural modulus, also called elastic modulus.

As previously mentioned, crystalline materials generally have higher strength and

stiffness as the amorphous materials. Nylon (PA), Acetal (POM) and thermoplastic
polyester (PET) have about the same level of strength and stiffness at room
temperature, with the polyesters having a slight advantage. PET also remains stiffer at
higher temperatures than the other engineering plastics, including PBT.
Comparatively, ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) has low
strength and stiffness.

On the amorphous side, polycarbonate (PC) and acrylic (PMMA) approach the
crystalline materials in strength and stiffness and outperform polyphenylene oxide
(PPO) and ABS. The tensile strength of polycarbonate is actually higher than that of
nylon and Acetal at temperatures between 200F and 250F.

Impact Strength

Impact strength, sometimes referred to as toughness, is the ability of a material to

withstand a suddenly applied load. There are several tests used to measure impact
strength. No single test predicts the impact behaviour of a material under the variety
of conditions possible.

One of the most common tests is the Notched Izod Impact Test, which is designed to
measure the effect of a sharp notch when a material is suddenly impacted. The Tensile
Impact Test measures the toughness of an unnotched sample when subjected to a
sudden tensile load. The Gardner Impact Test measures the energy required to break a
sample when a shaped weight is dropped on it. A more sophisticated test is the
Instrumented Impact Test, which includes measurements of deceleration and energy
as a sample is impacted by a weight. The values in the table on this page are from the
Notched Izod Test.

Many plastic materials are notch sensitive, but some, especially the amorphous
materials, are more impact resistant than others. Polycarbonate, UHMWPE and ABS
are much more impact resistant than the other engineering plastics, especially at low

Nylon has relatively low impact strength; however cast nylon shapes are slightly
tougher than extruded nylon shapes. In addition, nylons get tougher when they contain
some moisture, but measurements are usually done on dry samples. Although impact
test values for nylon are lower than those for Acetal, when nylon contains some
moisture, it is actually tougher than Acetal.

Wear Resistance

Two measurements are used for wear comparisons: the limiting PV, which is the
maximum pressure-velocity product at which the material can operate; and the k
factor, which measures the rate of wear.

For bearing and wear applications, the properties of crystalline materials far exceed
those of the amorphous materials. In general, amorphous materials are not
recommended for wear applications, unless they are modified with a lubricating

Among engineered plastics, PET has the best wear resistance, wet or dry. It offers
three times greater wear life than Acetal, based on the k factor, and as much as 15
percent greater wear life than nylon. Nylon outperforms Acetal in dry environments,
but Acetal is a more effective wear material in wet environments.

The engineering plastics, like other materials, usually do not wear well against
themselves. When designing bearing and wear parts, different materials should be
chosen for mating parts in order to increase wear life and avoid seizing. The exception
to this is PET.

Another property related to wear resistance is abrasion resistance, which indicates a

material's ability to resist wear in a sand-slurry or other abrasive mixture. UHMWPE
is the most abrasion-resistant engineering plastic, although nylon and PET also have
relatively high abrasion resistance.

Various additives can greatly improve wear characteristics. For example, compared to
standard nylon, enhanced grades of nylon are available with a better wear rate and the
ability to handle a higher PV.

Dimensional Stability

Two main factors influence dimensional stability: thermal expansion and moisture

Most engineering plastics have relatively low rates of water absorption and low
coefficients of thermal expansion, and therefore have excellent dimensional stability.
One exception is nylon, which has a tendency to absorb moisture, although certain
types of nylon are more resistant to water absorption than others. ABS and UHMWPE
are also less dimensionally stable than the other engineering plastics, due to their
higher coefficients of thermal expansion.

For very tight tolerance parts, improved dimensional stability can be attained by
rough machining, annealing and finish machining with a light cut. Annealing consists
of slowly heating the part to a specific temperature, holding at that temperature for
several hours and slowly cooling the material. Material manufacturers can
recommend specific temperatures for post-machining annealing.

Chemical Resistance

When using chemicals, the compatibility with each material should be tested, but
generally, the crystalline engineering plastic will perform well in industrial

UHMWPE and PET have very good chemical resistance, although strong bases attack
PET. The amorphous materials generally have limited chemical resistance. For
aggressive chemical environments, the crystalline advanced engineering plastics, such
as PPS or PEEK, should be considered.

Water also has an effect on some engineering plastics. Hot water and steam
hydrolyze, or attack, both PBT and PET. Extended exposure to water above 150F
should be avoided with these materials.

Nylons are not chemically attacked by water, but can absorb up to 7 percent water (by
weight) under high humidity or when fully submerged. This absorption causes
dimensional change up to 2 percent, but can be compensated for by proper part
design. If dimensional stability is important in wet applications, Acetal may be a more
appropriate choice.

Another concern related to chemical resistance is stain resistance. Nylon stains easily
due to its tendency to absorb moisture. PET is one of the most stain-resistant
engineering plastics and, for that reason, is preferred in many food applications.

Effect of Additives

The materials compared in this article are standard, unfilled plastics without additives.
Several additives can increase the properties of materials significantly, although
machining materials with certain additives may be more difficult.

PTFE, silicone, graphite and other additives increase wear resistance and improve
friction properties.

Glass and carbon fibres are often added to increase material strength, stiffness,
dimensional stability and heat deflection temperature.

Antistats or carbon are added to make plastics electrically conductive or semi-

conductive. Specific properties of these filled materials will depend on the
combination and percentage of additives.

Machining Characteristics

Most engineering plastics are considered easy to machine.

Polyesters are slightly more difficult to machine than the other engineering plastics
due to their notch sensitivity. Design and fabrication procedures are critical when
machining polyesters.

Polycarbonate and acrylic can also be difficult to machine. If these materials get too
hot during machining, they begin to soften and stick to tooling. Feed rates should be
carefully selected.

Some grades of Acetal, while one of the most easily machined materials, can outgas
formaldehyde when heated. Heat generation can be minimized by choosing
appropriate feed rates and using sharp, carbide-tipped tools. Also, coolants should be
used to reduce heat generation and dissipate any fumes created.

For optimum surface finishes and close tolerances, non-aromatic, water-soluble

coolants are suggested with all engineering plastics. General-purpose, petroleum-
based or aromatic-based cutting fluids are appropriate for crystalline plastics. Only
water-based coolants should be used with amorphous plastics. Petroleum-based
coolants may cause amorphous materials to stress crack or "craze."

As mentioned previously, plastics can be notch-sensitive and parts should be designed

to avoid sharp corners and edges. It is recommended to radius corners and the bottom
of tapped holes to prevent cracking during machining and in use. For drilling
operations, coolants are strongly recommended.

Size Availability

Engineering plastics are all available in various types of stock shapes, including plate,
rod, disc and tube. Nylon is available in the widest range and the largest sizes since it
can be cast as well as extruded. Nylon parts weighing up to 800 pounds and
measuring 6 feet in diameter have been cast in a single mould.

Cost Comparison

The cost of engineered plastic stock shapes is generally proportionate to the properties
of each material. UHMWPE and acrylic are the lowest-cost engineering plastics.
Nylon and ABS are about two times the cost of these materials, and Acetal and PET

are 10 to 20 percent more costly than nylon and ABS. Polycarbonate and PPO are the
most expensive engineering plastics: they cost two times as much as nylon and ABS.

Often the cost of producing machined parts is increased due to the amount of material
wasted when making unusual shapes. When the material is nylon, using custom-cast
shapes can reduce this cost significantly. For instance, using a tubular bar to fabricate
a bearing provides significant savings over using a plate or rod to produce the same
part. In addition to tubular bar, more detailed parts are routinely cast from nylon.


Within the category of engineering plastics, each material will excel under different
conditions. Selecting the best material is seldom based on just one outstanding
property, but on which material offers the best combination of performance
characteristics in use. Understanding the "material triangle" and the basic properties
of materials can help you better select and fabricate engineering plastics.

Material Selection Methodology

The methodology of selection of polymer material is outlined below

• Experience What are similar products made of ? When a product is conceived, it is

good practice to see what has been done in the past to gain some knowledge of
successes and failures. Failure analysis data is often useful in selection of the right
polymer. This information can be gathered from other design and manufacturing
engineers, mould builders, and the moulding plants where such parts are produced.
These sources are also good at providing valuable input on raw materials that are
fairly new on the market that may lack substantive documentation from the

• Criteria The search for materials is based on subjective criteria as outlined above
as well as objective criteria for the current design. The objective criteria include:
º Required criteria such as flammability, chemical resistance, temperature
resistance (both high and low), electrical, humidity etc.
º Regulatory requirements, such as UL, FCC, FDA etc.
º Cost. Cost is not simply cost per unit weight; rather it is cost per unit volume
since it is the volume of the part that stays more or less fixed for a given mould.
º Environmental compatibility. Includes the ability to recycle the polymer,
pollution, and energy demands.

• Analysis Stress analysis can be done for features under stress. These include snaps,
latches, screw-bosses, load bearing elements etc. Classic hand calculations and
finite element analysis (FEA) can be useful, but the design engineer must be aware
that plastics have characteristics partly of solids and partly of viscous liquids, so
that classical Hookean engineering formulas cannot be used with confidence.

• Processing and the Skin-Effect Moulding and extrusion of plastics alters their
properties so care must be taken to look at similar parts. Processing typically

induces high anisotropy and non-homogeneity to a plastic. It is difficult to produce

a structurally accurate model of the part since a moulded part will be anisotropic
and non-homogeneous. Most moulded parts have a surface "skin" devoid of filler
and often crystalline and therefore highly directional. Fortunately, directionality
and non-homogeneity typically impart added strength to a plastic structure.
Processing-induced differences are most pronounced in crystalline plastics such as
nylon, Acetal and polyethylene. The differences are less significant in amorphous
materials such as polycarbonate, polystyrene, and ABS.

• Prototyping Prototypes parts can be made for those features that are highly
stressed or difficult in some other way. These prototype parts can be produced in
small prototype moulds that just produce say one design of latch and a snap. Thus a
hard to design latch can be validated, without building a whole mould. As far as the
whole part is concerned, rapid prototyping methods (such as stereo-lithography)
can be used to make full sized models or scale models for the purpose of

• Design Validation The ideal way to mock up a part for design verification testing
is to mould the part in a "soft" steel mould. This is more expensive than a resin or
aluminium mould, but thermal properties most resemble those of a hardened tool
steel mould and the part properties will resemble the production part. Paramount to
the similarity is the cooling rate of the plastic as it is injected. For non-structural
parts, aluminium or even a resin prototype mould will suffice.

• Testing Once some promising polymers are chosen based on the above criteria,
they should be tested. The features with the greatest weaknesses should be tested
against known criteria/challenges. These could include drop tests for structural
challenges, dielectric strength for electrical voltage challenge, latch cycling for
fatigue challenge, etc. This will gain valuable time and experience as the mould is
being scheduled for fabrication. Any testing prior to mould-build start will be
advantageous from both cost and schedule point of view.

Material Selection Process for particular product:

Material Selection process consists of following steps mentioned in following


Product Function
A pump motor manufacturing company wants to use gearwheels manufactured with
plastics used to be manufactured with steel. As the production of the company has
been increased phenomenally it wants to use plastic manufactured gearwheel to
reduce its manufacturing cost. The main mechanical requirements for the gearwheel

Continues torque 8J
Maximum excursion temperature 140 oC
Maximum Continues running temperature 93 oC
Gear ratio (approximately) 50:1
Loading period, continuous 500 h

The gearwheels were designed to fulfil the 50:1 ratio, and to be a compact as possible.
The stresses at the base of the gear teeth can be estimated using beam bending theory:
for the teeth.

Width of tooth (w) = 6.35 mm

Addendum and dedendum (l) = 1.98 mm
Thickness of tooth at base (d) = 2.61 mm

Force on each gear tooth (W) = Small torque

2 x radius of gear wheel

The stress at the base of the gear teeth can be calculated from

σ = M
y = I

M = bending moment = WI
I = second moment of area = bd3

Y = maximum distance to top or bottom of beam

= d/2 (for rectangular beams only) where σ = 6WI

= 40 MPa

The gearwheel must withstand this load after 500 h of continues operation.

Initial Selection Process

Initial selection process is based on following two criteria

1) Previous knowledge and experience

2) Manufacturing requirements.

Knowledge Experience and Manufacturing Requirement:

According to our previous experience and details given in the introduction about
engineering thermoplastics the following materials should withstand the load
requirements of the above mentioned gearwheels.

• Thermoplastic Polyester
• Glass filled materials
• Polyamides
• Polyoxymethylene
• Polycarbonate
• Thermo sets
• Polysulphones

We know that glass filled materials wear badly in above application. Cross linked
plastics are too brittle to be considered for gears. While Polycarbonate and
Polysulphones have poor fatigue resistance so the only options we have are:

• Polyamides
• Polyoxymethylene
• Thermoplastic Polyester

Processing Requirements:

As we know that the part to be manufactured is highly precision. So the only process
which could withstand it is Injection moulding which could give us a desire
dimensional stability. And all above mentioned thermoplastics are suitable for
injection moulding. While thermoplastic polyester because of there high viscosity
wouldn’t be economical. Also we have to keep in out mind that the material should
withstand load of 40 MPa for 500 hrs of continuous operation. And after that when it
would be unstressed it should have good creep resistance and Stress relaxation
behaviour should be appropriate.

Initial Selection of raw material:

As thermoplastic polyesters are not only uneconomical for injection moulding they
are very costly itself as compare to Nylon and Acetal. Although they have got better
wear resistance. But we can not choose this material for this particular application
because of relatively higher cost. Now we will choose only one from Nylon and


Nylon is also called Polyamide (PA). Although there are lot of Nylon resins available
in the market. But only Nylon 6 and Nylon 6.6 have got the polymer

Nylon 6,6 at a glance

Uses: fibres, thermoplastics

Monomers: adipic acid and hexamethylene diamine
Polymerization: acid catalyzed condensation polymerization
Morphology: highly crystalline
Melting temperature: 280oC
Glass transition temperature: 50oC

Nylon 6 at a glance

Uses: fibres, thermoplastics

Monomers: caprolactam
Polymerization: ring opening polymerization
Morphology: highly crystalline
Melting temperature: 215oC
Glass transition temperature: 40oC


Nylons are one they were a big hit, but they became hard to get, because the next year
the United States entered World War II, and nylon was needed to make war materials,
like parachutes and ropes. But before stockings or parachutes, the very first nylon

product was a toothbrush with nylon bristles.

Nylons are also called polyamides, because of the characteristic amide groups in the
backbone chain. Proteins, such as the silk nylon was made to replace, are also
polyamides. These amide groups are very polar, and can hydrogen bond with each
other. Because of this, and because the nylon backbone is so regular and symmetrical,
nylons are often crystalline and make very good fibres.

The nylon in the pictures on this page is called nylon 6,6, because each repeat unit of
the polymer chain has two stretches of carbon atoms, each being six carbon atoms
long. Other nylons can have different numbers of carbon atoms in these stretches.

Nylons can be made from diacid chlorides and diamines. Nylon 6,6 is made from the
monomers adipoyl chloride and hexamethylene diamine.

Of the most common polymers used as a fibre, Nylon is found in clothing all the time,
but also in other places, in the form of a thermoplastic. Nylon's first real success came
with its use in women's stockings, in about 1940.

This is one way of making nylon 6,6 in the laboratory. But in a nylon plant, it's
usually made by reacting adipic acid with hexamethylene diamine:

Another kind of nylon is nylon 6. It's a lot like nylon 6,6 except that it only has one
kind of carbon chain, which is six atoms long.

It's made by a ring opening polymerization form the monomer caprolactam. Nylon 6
doesn't behave much differently from nylon 6,6. The only reason both are made is
because DuPont patented nylon 6,6, so other companies had to invent nylon 6 in order
to get in on the nylon business.

Nylon 6/6 was the first nylon material available in rod, sheet and tube form for
industrial application. Nylon 6/6 is a superior performer. Of all the unmodified
nylons, it has the highest melting point, is the strongest, and the most rigid. Nylon 6/6
is an excellent replacement for a wide range of different materials ranging from
metals to rubber because of its toughness, and combination of low coefficient of
friction and good abrasion resistance.

This product also has outstanding resistance to alkalies and organic materials, as well
as good electrical insulating characteristics and noise damping properties.

Standard metal working equipment is suitable in the fabrication of precision parts.

The combination of mach inability, excellent properties, and performance have made
Nylon 6/6 the most widely used nylon in American industry.

Nylon 6/12 possesses similar properties to that of Nylon 6/6, however, Nylon 6/12
has a higher temperature rating and lower water absorption.


 High wear and abrasion resistance

 Low coefficient of friction
 Resilience and impact resistance
 FDA compliant
 USDA approved
 Non abrasive to other materials
 Noise damping characteristics
 Good electrical insulating properties
 Resistance to alkalies and organic chemicals
 Ease of fabrication
 Able to operate with or without lubrication

Application and properties of Nylon:

PA 6 and PA 6.6 are used mainly in textiles but find many plastic uses, usually where
toughness is prerequisite: some examples are oil filler caps for road vehicles: teeth in
plastic zip fasteners: castors for light furniture: hopper barrels for food mincers;
radiator tanks for cars; hose connector for Electrolux vacuum cleaner; and gears,
especially in food processing equipment.

State: nylon (PA 6)
Additives: unreinforced, toughened
Material Properties

Mechanical Properties
State 1 State 2 ASTM
dry (0.2%
2001 tensile D638
water content)
Elastic Modulus (MPa)
50% relative
704 tensile D638
dry (0.2%
Flexural Modulus (MPa) 1725 23 ºC D790
water content)
50% relative
38 at break D638
Tensile Strength (MPa)
dry (0.2%
45 - 55 at break D638
water content)
Flexural Strength (MPa)
63 dry (0.2% water content) D790
at yield or break
dry (0.2%
Elongation at break (%) 65 - 150 D638
water content)
Izod Impact (J/cm of notch) 8.7 dry (0.2% D256A

1/8" thick specimen unless

water content)
Thermal Properties
Pressure State ASTM
70 0.46 MPa D648
Deflection Temperature (ºC)
50 - 58 1.82 MPa dry (0.2% water content) D648
Physical & Electrical Properties
State ASTM
Specific Gravity 1.07 D792
Specific Gravity 1.08 D792
Processing Properties
Melting Temperature (ºC) 210 - 220 Tm, crystalline
Processing Temperature (ºC) 272 - 288 injection moulding
Linear Mould Shrinkage (cm/cm) 0.006 - 0.02 D955


Bearings Insulators
Bushings Cams and cam followers
Valve seats Fasteners
Thrust washers Sleeves
Seals Liners
Wear surfaces Tooling fixtures
Rollers Forming dies
Guides Gears

State: nylon (PA 66)
Application: moulding compound

Material Properties

Mechanical Properties
State 1 State 2 ASTM
dry (0.2% water
1587 - 3795 tensile D638
Elastic Modulus (MPa) content)
1587 - 3450 tensile 50% relative humidity D638
dry (0.2% water
2829 - 3243 23 ºC D790
Flexural Modulus (MPa) content)
1277 23 ºC 50% relative humidity D790
dry (0.2% water
56 - 83 at yield D638
45 - 59 at yield 50% relative humidity D638
Tensile Strength (MPa)
dry (0.2% water
95 at break D638
76 at break 50% relative humidity D638
Compressive Strength (MPa)
87 - 104 at yield D695
at yield or break
Flexural Strength (MPa)
12 - 124 dry (0.2% water content) D790
at yield or break
Flexural Strength (MPa)
43 50% relative humidity D790
at yield or break
dry (0.2% water
15 - 80 D638
Elongation at break (%) content)
150 - 300 50% relative humidity D638
dry (0.2% water
120 Rockwell R D638
Hardness dry (0.2% water
83 Rockwell M D638
95 - 105 Rockwell M 50% relative humidity D638
Izod Impact (J/cm of notch)
dry (0.2% water
1/8" thick specimen unless 0.3 - 0.5 D256A
Izod Impact (J/cm of notch)
1/8" thick specimen unless 0.5 - 1.1 50% relative humidity D256A
Thermal Properties
Pressure State ASTM
Coef of Thermal Expansion (10 /ºC) 80 D696
219 - 246 0.46 MPa D648
Deflection Temperature (ºC)
70 - 100 1.82 MPa dry (0.2% water content) D648
Thermal Conductivity (W/m-ºC) 0.242 C177
Physical & Electrical Properties
State ASTM
Specific Gravity 1.13 - 1.15 D792
8.5 saturated D570
Water Absorption (% weight increase)
1 - 2.8 after 24 hrs D570
Dielectric Strength (V/mil);
600 dry (0.2% water content) D149
1/8" thick specimen unless noted

Processing Properties
Melting Temperature (ºC) 255 - 265 Tm, crystalline
Processing Temperature (ºC) 260 - 327 injection molding
Molding Pressure (MPa) 7 - 173
Compression Ratio 3-4
Linear Mold Shrinkage (cm/cm) 0.007 - 0.018 D955

A. Schulman Akron, OH 800-662-7203

Adell Plastics, Inc. Baltimore, MD 800-638-5218
Albis Corp. Rosenburg, TX 800-231-5911
ALM Corp. Wayne, NJ
Ashley Polymers Brooklyn, NY
Bamberger Polymers, Inc. Jericho, NY
BASF Corp. Mount Olive, NJ 800-BC-RESIN
Bayer Corp. Pittsburgh, PA 800-662-2927
ComAlloy International Co. Nashville, TN
DSM Engineering Plastic Products, Inc. Reading, PA 800-729-0101
DuPont Co., Polymers Wilmington, DE 800-438-7225
EMS-American Grilon, Inc. Sumter, SC
M.A. Hanna Engineered Materials Norcross, GA
MRC Polymers, Inc. Chicago, IL
Network Polymers, Inc. Akron, OH 888-437-4674
Nyltech NA Co., Inc. Manchester, NH
Polymer Resources, Ltd. Farmington, CT 800-243-5176
Polymers International, Inc. Spartanburg, SC
Solutia, Inc. St Louis, MO
Thermofil, Inc. Brighton, MI 800-444-4408
Ticona Summit, NJ 800-526-4960


There are two types of acetal available in the market:

1. Acetal Homopolymer
2. Acetal Copolymer

Difference between Acetal Products:

There are two general types of acetal resins available: acetal homopolymer
and acetal copolymers. Each type of acetal has its own set of advantages and
disadvantages. Acetal (Polyoxymethylene, POM) is a thermoplastic polymer
commercialized in the early 1960’s. This material is produced through the
polymerization of formaldehyde.

Acetal copolymer is made by several companies including BASF and Ticona.

This Material has the following advantages over homopolymer:

• Improved dimensional stability over comparable homopolymer

formulations due to its lower level of crystallinity.
• Better chemical resistance with high pH (basic) solutions.
• Lower centerline porosity than homopolymer in extruded shapes.

In most cases, acetal homopolymer and copolymer can be interchanged because many
material properties are approximately 10% of each other. Typical physical properties
are shown in the accompanying table. Perhaps the most significant difference
between homopolymer and copolymer acetal relates to the phenomenon known as
“centerline porosity”. It is most prominent in extruded parts, particularly thick slab
and large diameter rod stock. Visually, it is a whiter shaded region around the center
portion of a rod, which extends down the entire length. In slab, porosity appears as a
line along the center of each cut edge. In some cases, the slab may appear to be
laminated or glued together. Excessive centerline porosity is undesirable for the
following reasons:

• Cosmetic – inconsistent color appearance in finished parts.

• Compromises structural integrity.
• Present routes for leakage of gas and liquids.
• Provide areas where the bacteria can grow in food processing

Acetal copolymer is an engineering thermoplastic based on formaldehyde

polymerization technology. Acetal copolymer resin is produced by a number of
companies, including Celanese and BASF, which sell these products under their trade
names of Celcon and Ultraform.

Acetal copolymer has an exceptional balance of tensile properties, shear strength,

stiffness, and toughness. The toughness of this resin is evident in its high tensile yield
strength. It is a natural bearing material because it exhibits a very low coefficient of
friction against metals, and has excellent abrasion resistance.

The thermal properties are unusually good. It has excellent resistance to high
intermittent temperatures and it retains its shape and physical integrity at elevated
temperatures. The long-term stability at high temperature is outstanding. Additional

thermal characteristics are its excellent retention of initial mechanical properties in

hot air and hot water.

Electrical properties of Acetal copolymer include good dielectric strength, good

dissipation factor, low dielectric constant over a range of frequencies, high volume
resistively, and excellent arc resistance. These properties exist with exceptional
mechanical strength and heat resistance.


High tensile strength and stiffness

Exceptional dynamic fatigue strength and dimensional stability

Practical toughness and resilience

Minimal moisture absorption

Low friction and wear properties

Hard, high gloss surface

Superior property retention

Easy to process and fabricate


Conveyor links
Worm gears
Timer gears
Food processor blades
Video cassette reels
Kitchen faucet components
Battery holder

State: copolymer
Material Properties

Mechanical Properties
State 1 State 2 ASTM
3105 compressive D638
Elastic Modulus (MPa)
2602 - 3202 tensile D638
Flexural Modulus (MPa) 2553 - 3105 23 ºC D790
Tensile Strength (MPa) 58 - 72 at yield D638
Compressive Strength (MPa)
111 at 10% strain D695
at yield or break
Flexural Strength (MPa)
90 D790
at yield or break
Elongation at break (%) 15 - 75 D638
Hardness 75 - 90 Rockwell M D638
Izod Impact (J/cm of notch)
0.4 - 0.8 D256A
1/8" thick specimen unless noted
Thermal Properties
Pressure State ASTM
Coef of Thermal Expansion (10 /ºC) 61 - 110 D696
155 - 166 0.46 MPa D648
Deflection Temperature (ºC)
85 - 122 1.82 MPa D648
Thermal Conductivity (W/m-ºC) 0.230 C177
Physical & Electrical Properties
State ASTM
Specific Gravity 1.4 D792
0.2 - 0.22 after 24 hrs D570
Water Absorption (% weight increase)
0.65 - 0.8 saturated D570
Dielectric Strength (V/mil);
500 90 mil thick D149
1/8" thick specimen unless noted
Processing Properties
Melt Flow (gm/10 min) 1 - 90 D1238
Melting Temperature (ºC) 160 - 175 Tm, crystalline
172 - 205 compression moulding
Processing Temperature (ºC)
183 - 233 injection moulding
Moulding Pressure (MPa) 56 - 138
Compression Ratio 3 - 4.5
Linear Mould Shrinkage (cm/cm) 0.02 average value D955


American Polymers, Inc. Worcester, MA

Ashley Polymers Brooklyn, NY
BASF Corp. Mount Olive, NJ 800-BC-RESIN

LG Chemical America, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, NJ

M.A. Hanna Engineered Materials Norcross, GA
Network Polymers, Inc. Akron, OH 888-437-4674
RTP Co. Winona, MN 800-433-4787
Ticona Summit, NJ 800-526-4960

Acetal homopolymer resins are currently made by the DuPont Company under the

trade name Delrin . Homopolymer offers the following benefits:

•  Stiffer than acetal copolymers. Higher flexural modulus at

room temperature and elevated temperature applications.
•  Higher impact strengths at room temperatures and low
•  Tensile strength is approximately 10 – 15% higher than
comparable copolymers.
•  slightly higher continuous use temperature than copolymer
(95°C vs. 90°C).

As Acetal Copolymer but with higher service temperature, slightly lower chemical
resistance and less resistance to hydrolysis (moisture absorption)
Typical Applications
As copolymer but with reference to slightly different characteristics.
Availability - Rod, Sheet, Plate, Tube, Strip - Natural, Blac

State: homopolymer
Material Properties
Mechanical Properties
State 1 State 2 ASTM
4623 compressive D638
Elastic Modulus (MPa)
2760 - 3588 tensile D638
2622 - 3381 23 ºC D790
Flexural Modulus (MPa) 828 - 932 94 ºC D790
518 - 621 122 ºC D790
67 - 69 at break D638
Tensile Strength (MPa)
66 - 83 at yield D638
Compressive Strength (MPa)
108 - 125 at 10% strain D695
at yield or break
Flexural Strength (MPa)
94 - 111 D790
at yield or break
Elongation at break (%) 10 - 75 D638
Hardness 92 - 94 Rockwell M D638

120 Rockwell R D638

Izod Impact (J/cm of notch)
0.6 - 1.2 D256A
1/8" thick specimen unless noted
Thermal Properties
Pressure State ASTM
Coef of Thermal Expansion (10 /ºC) 50 - 112 D696
163 - 173 0.46 MPa D648
Deflection Temperature (ºC)
123 - 137 1.82 MPa D648
Thermal Conductivity (W/m-ºC) 0.230 C177
Physical & Electrical Properties
State ASTM
Specific Gravity 1.42 D792
0.25 - 1 after 24 hrs D570
Water Absorption (% weight increase)
0.9 - 1 saturated D570
Dielectric Strength (V/mil);
400 - 500 90 mil thick D149
1/8" thick specimen unless noted
Processing Properties
Melt Flow (gm/10 min) 1 - 20 D1238
Melting Temperature (ºC) 172 - 184 Tm, crystalline
Processing Temperature (ºC) 194 - 244 injection moulding
Moulding Pressure (MPa) 69 - 138
Compression Ratio 2 - 4.5
Linear Mould Shrinkage (cm/cm) 0.018 - 0.025 D955
Ashley Polymers Brooklyn, NY
DuPont Co., Polymers Wilmington, DE 800-438-7225
RTP Co. Winona, MN 800-433-4787
Shuman Plastics, Inc. Depew, NY

Final Material Selection

Physical properties:
After material properties comparison we can see all the above materials could
withstand the load required by the product i.e. gearwheel. Whereas, we have to
consider some other properties and most important among them is water absorption.
As the application of raw material is in the water pump so it would be near to the
water. Although nylon has better mechanical properties as compare to acetal but it
absorbs significant amount of water, also it oxidise readily in open air, hence acetal
got the advantage on nylon. The wear resistance of dry or wet acetal is better than wet
nylon and acetal have a better abrasion resistance. However, thermal properties of
acetal near to the water are better than that of nylon; as far as mechanical, thermal and
hygroscopic properties are concerned. Thus acetal should be considered as a better


It has been found out from different sources of raw material the price of POM and
Nylon is very similar. Price of POM is $0.73/ lb while price of Nylon is around $
0.75/ lb. Although, specific gravity of nylon is less than that of acetal, hence it has an
advantage over acetal on the volumetric production basis. Whereas, on the other hand
nylon have several disadvantages like; it readily oxidise in the air and absorbs lot of
moisture, therefore removal of water before production is necessary, which in result
increases the production cost, in relevancy, open bags of nylon could not be kept open
as it absorbs moisture and oxygen, thus if one box is not used as a whole, the
remainder is considered as waste, which eventually increases the production cost.

Nylon has a higher processing temperature than acetal, resulting in higher production
time and more energy requirements. It also has a lower viscosity at higher
temperature, thus it is not easy to process, as special types of gate designs are required
in the injection mould, increasing the cost of the tooling.


The most appropriate material for this component (i.e. gear wheel) is acetal co-
polymer, as it has better resistance to moisture with better wear and abrasion
properties. Acetal copolymers contain good stiffness and toughness. The over all cost
of acetal copolymer including the production cost are comparatively lower then