What type of engineered polymer do I need to use? This question has been asked by almost all of our customers. To answer the question effectively, we first need to narrow it down to your exact needs. Some of the questions we ask center around the product itself like finding out where it’s going to be used, what is the highest load it will carry, or abrasion requirements. Does the material need to retain a specific shape? Other questions look at the environment the product is in. What temperature will the material be exposed to and for how long? Are there moisture or chemical hazards to be aware of? We also need to know if there are any regulatory requirements that need to be met. Finally, and often most important, is there a price range you would like to stay within? With this information, we can often begin ruling out different engineered polymers until we find the one that fits the job perfectly!

General Properties of Engineered Polymer

The material’s properties have specific traits that make them stand out, and that quality might be the one that fits the task best. Below are some of the major players we handle on a regular basis and their general attributes. Each material features a color-coded designation so you can quickly pick out important properties. A shaded letter means a material performs well. The absence of color signifies a material performs poorly.  

W = Water Resistance  | F = Fire Resistance  |  E = Electrical Resistance  |  T = Temperature Resistant  |  C = Chemical Resistance

  1. UHMW-PE  | W | F | E | T | C
    Provides a low coefficient of friction and high slip property. Contains superb abrasion and chemical resistance and has incredibly high impact strength. Operates in extremely low temperatures, as low as – 375°F. FDA compliant.
  2. Acetals  | W | F | E | T | C
    Has excellent machining and wear properties. Contains high compression strength and stiffness while still keeping an outstanding level of stability.
  3. Polytetrafluoroethylene PTFE (Teflon®) | W | F | E | T | C
    Exceptional chemical, electrical, mechanical, and thermal properties. High impact strength. Resistant to most chemicals, and excellent electrical insulator. Can operate at temperatures up to 550°F. FDA compliant.
  4. Nylons Type 6 (Cast) and Type 6/6 (Extruded) | W | F | E | T | C
    Excellent physical properties such as wear resistance, tensile strength, abrasion resistance, and high impact strength. Available in oil or molybdenum disulphide MD-filled compounds giving it a lower coefficient of friction. Nylon 6 (cast) offers a wider array of options in part size and thickness that other nylons or materials do not. FDA compliant.
  5. HDPE | W | F | E | T | C
    Extremely flexible which provides outstanding tensile strength. Abrasion and chemical resistance As well as good energy absorption. Can handle temperatures as low as -76°F. FDA compliant.

Applications for Engineered Polymer

Typical industry applications may be helpful to get started, but the list below is by no means exhaustive; it’s only a summary of the most common engineered polymer applications! To find out more, please contact one of our experts.

  1. UHMW-PE
    Chain sprockets, gears, airboat bottoms, food processing, truck liners, logging and mining industry, ski ramps, hockey rinks, fendering systems, docks, hulls
  2. Acetals
    Gears, fan wheels, rollers, bearings, electrical insulators, connectors, valves
  3. Polytetrafluoroethylene PTFE (Teflon®)
    Bearings, rollers, seals, coating, gaskets, plugs, valves
  4. Nylons Type 6 (Cast) and Type 6/6 (Extruded)
    Bearings, valve seats, gears, wear components, wheels, bushings, sheaves, pulleys
  5. HDPE
    Containers, pipes, underwater products, housing covers, playground equipment, cutting boards

Industry Use

During the conversation with a customer, the industry using engineered polymers is often covered. This topic can streamline what material you should use, especially if it’s a material already in use in your related field. We have included the industries below, but keep in mind this is a brief description and not all industries are represented. For more information, please contact one of our experts.

  1. UHMW-PE
    Mining, agriculture, power, food and beverage, poultry processing, outdoor recreation, change parts, conveyor, packaging
  2. Acetals
    Food and beverage, packaging, sign fabricating
  3. Polytetrafluoroethylene PTFE (Teflon®)
    Automotive, chemical, electrical, electronics, engineering, and medical
  4. Nylons Type 6 (Cast) and Type 6/6 (Extruded)
    Industrial, food and beverage, electronics, appliance
  5. HDPE
    Industrial, marine, food processing


For budgeting purposes, the price can be an important factor. You will want to know how this product is going to impact your bottom line. Below is a cost breakdown of the materials.

LEAST COSTLY  HDPE –> UHMW –> Nylon (Cast) –> Acetal –> Nylon (Extruded) –> PTFE (Teflon) MOST EXPENSIVE

Choosing the right engineered polymer can make all the difference in the success of your project. The wrong polymer can lead to a product that needs to be replaced too often due to early wear or poor performance. The perfect polymer can lead to the highest quality product outperforming all other competitors. TSE has nearly 60 years of experience dealing with various engineered polymers (rubber, too)! You can find out about all of our plastics and rubber options by checking out our Material Choices! We know we can find the perfect polymer for you because we have done it throughout the years for countless clients. Our experts are standing by to answer any questions you may have!

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