Can HDPE and Delrin (Acetal) the same?
One of our most commonly asked question asked by our best clients. Is HDPE Sheet the same plastic as Delrin Sheet?
A resounding NO, they are completely different plastic materials. While the natural color of both is a milky translucent white to opaque white, and they do both have a similar look and feel, they are far from the same. HDPE is a mostly milky white to almost white depending on thickness, and Acetal is generally much more opaque white to a slight milky - once again depending on thickness .
HDPE and Acetal/Delrin - Some of the Differences
The HDPE is considered a softer plastic material, and is commonly known for its FDA applications and is often placed in numerous food processing applications, such as: one gallon milk jugs, cutting surfaces, colored foggy 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 can not be bonded, so it makes a great non-stick surface for sticky foods and adhesives.
The Acetal / Delrin also has FDA certification, and are used heavily in the food processing industry. Delrin material is a more mechanical material and is often 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 also resists being bondable, thus requiring mechanical fastening or threads to be assembled. Delrin has a very low water absorption, and you will find it in your toilet tank (as the white moving parts) and in the handle mechanism. It is an extremely popular material for machinists, as it works much like soft brass.
Even though HDPE and Acetal look similar, they perform quite a bit differently.
While both materials are FDA approved, are machinable and can be used to make wear resistant parts, they are two different plastic materials and have rather different physical properties. Another main difference is in the weight of these items; HDPE weighs about 35% less than the Acetal material. Please evaluate the data sheets for more detailed information to assist in proper material selection.
Acetal is commonly known as: Delrin, Ensital, Unital, Pomalux, Ultraform and many more.
HDPE is known as: Ultraethylux, Densetec, Polystone G, Fortiflex, Versadur, Hostalen, and many more.
Contact us for more details on the HDPE and Acetal families of plastic materials, call 866-832-9315