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Delrin vs Nylon: Comparing Two of the Top Plastic Polymers

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    Every prototyping and manufacturing project requires durable and strong materials. Two of the best options in today’s market are Delrin and nylon, offering versatility in various machining projects. Examining the Delrin vs nylon comparison is critical to choosing the best material for your project.

    The major difference between Delrin and nylon comes from their method of creation. Delrin is a thermoplastic created from polyoxymethylene, while nylon is a synthetic thermoplastic from a reaction between a dicarboxylic acid and an amide.

    Both of these materials have desirable physical and mechanical properties. However, some vital differences between them could make one more ideal for your needs. Therefore, we bring you this detailed Delrin and nylon comparison to help you select the right option for your projects.

    Delrin vs Nylon: Comparing Their Material Properties Differences

    Despite having some similar properties, there are some differences you must consider between nylon vs Delrin. We will discuss them in this section.

    delrin vs nylon comparison

    Wear Resistance of Each Technique

    Nylon is generally more resistant to abrasion than Delrin, especially in dry applications. Unfilled Delrin wear resistance is fractionally lower than nylon. Thus, it displays a lower wear rate at a steady- state, especially under pressure.

    The Friction of Each Technique

    Both Delrin and Nylon have a low friction coefficient against other materials. There is not much difference between Nylon and Delrin friction. Thus, they are both suitable for manufacturing maintenance-free sliding and moving parts.

    Tensile Strength of Each Technique

    The tensile strength of a material determines the highest stress levels that can permanently distort it. Nylon has a higher tensile strength of 12,000 psi compared to Delrin’s 10,000 psi.

    Machinability of Each Technique

    While nylon is generally readily machinable, many designers and manufacturers regard Delrin as the most machinable plastic. Delrin is a very easy material to machine, a free-cutting thermoplastic with top-notch dimensional stability. Thus, this makes it easier to achieve precise and tight tolerances. It is suitable for mechanical and industrial parts, automotive components, electrical parts, and several medical equipments.

    3D Printing Capability of Each Technique

    One of the major points of the nylon vs Delrin comparison is the 3D printing capability. You can 3D print nylon with any of the available technologies, including Selective Laser Sintering, FDM, and MultiJet Fusion. It is quite more tedious to 3D print most Delrin materials. Most of the applications, in this case, are high-performance parts like bearings and gears. Thus, you may have to deal with the issue of load and pressure.

    Temperature Tolerance of Each Technique

    The continuous operating temperatures for Delrin are usually between 180 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. This is about 20 to 30 degrees below the standard nylon 6,6. Therefore, Nylon is more temperature tolerant than Delrin.

    Moisture Resistance of Each Technique

    Standard plastic Nylon can push water upwards, absorbing up to 8% of moisture. Delrin can only absorb 0.2% moisture under similar conditions. However, it is important to note that filled Nylon absorbs lesser moisture than the unfilled variants.

    Material PropertiesDelrinNylon
    Wear ResistanceGoodExcellent
    FrictionLow friction coefficientLow friction coefficient
    Strength10,000 psi tensile strength12,000 psi tensile strength
    MachinabilityHighly machinableMachinable
    3D Printing CapabilityEasy 3D printableChallenging
    Temperature ToleranceGood temperature toleranceBetter temperature tolerance
    Moisture ResistanceHigher moisture resistanceHigh moisture resistance

    Now that you have understood several differences between Delrin and Nylon, let’s learn detailed information about the two materials respectively below.

    What is Delrin?

    Delrin is the popular trade name for an acetal polymer – polyoxymethylene (POM). This material has extensive use in plastic machining and injection molding due to its exceptional properties. Since its first use in 1960, Delrin plastic has become a major raw material in the manufacturing industry.

    delrin material for product manufacturing

    Production of Delrin plastic can be in the form of a homopolymer or a copolymer. Producing the homopolymer occurs by reacting to aqueous formaldehyde with alcohol. Thus, creating a semiformal. Dehydrating the semiformal is followed by the subsequent release of formaldehyde. Anionic catalysis then helps polymerize the semiformal to give the desired Delrin product.

    Delrin has a high crystalline composition. Thus, it is intrinsically opaque white. However, you will find many different colors available on a commercial scale. It is useful for precision parts that require increased structural integrity, low friction, and high stiffness.

    Different Delrin Grades Available for Rapid Prototyping

    There are various grades of Delrin plastic with different mechanical properties. Each grade is also more suitable for different machining processes. Therefore, they are useful in different situations. Some of the grades you are available include the following:

    different grades of delrin

    ● Delrin 150

    This Delrin grade is popular for its excellent mechanical properties. It offers exceptional rigidity and strength while being highly resistant to warpage. Its integrity remains surprisingly intact even when you subject it to high temperatures. Furthermore, Delrin 150 has good lubricity, preventing wear and tear, and making it ideal for long-term applications. The automotive industry benefits from this incredible material.

    ● Delrin AF 100

    Here is another Delrin material in product manufacturing resistant to wear, making it very durable. Moreso, this Delrin has an additional 13% PTFE content. This enhances its lubricity and improves its strength. Thus, AF 100 is suitable as a replacement material in metal applications requiring endurance and durability. The natural lubrication of the PTFE-filled Delrin reduces friction between parts.

    ● 30% Glass Filled Delrin

    This Delrin grade has exceptional impact resistance. Therefore, it is a good material option for parts you intend to subject to constant high-stress conditions. Glass-filled Delrin also has exceptional creep and deformation resistance, complementing increased endurance.

    ● Delrin AF DE588

    Unlike the AF 100 option, this grade has 20% PTFE fiber. Therefore, you can be sure of exceptional strength, rigidity, and durability. It is a valuable material for fast-moving parts in high-stress conditions. Therefore, Delrin AF DE588 is an approved material for submarine components and other related parts.

    Properties of Delrin

    Several unique properties make it a common option in the prototyping industry. Some of them are:

    • Excellent dimensional stability
    • Good machinability
    • High fatigue endurance
    • Superior creep and impact resistance
    • Increased strength and rigidity
    • Resistance to organic chemicals and solvents
    • Great wear and abrasion resistance
    • Low moisture absorption
    • Low-temperature stability

    Applications of Delrin Plastic

    delrin plastic application

    Manufacturers and designers prefer Delrin in many processes due to its many incredible properties. Leading industries worldwide use Delrin parts for manufacturing various products, including:

    • Automotive parts, such as gears for windshield wipers and windows, grill components, seatbelt hardware, etc.
    • Industrial equipment, including fan blades, bearings, gears, farm equipment, etc.
    • Medical equipment such as medical delivery devices.
    • Consumer goods, e.g., door system components, clips, handles, valves, zippers, and more.
    • Electrical components like switches, housing for appliances, cartridge platforms, coil holders, etc.

    Advantages of Delrin

    Delrin’s mechanical properties help it to offer several advantages, including:

    Low Weight

    Delrin is a lightweight material when compared to metals. Despite the relatively small weight, it has high tensile strength and is capable of withstanding impact and repetitive shock loads.

    High Strength

    Delrin is a polymer that resists fatigue. Because of its stiffness and strong mechanical strength, Delrin may be used to build an extensive array of high-performance parts with extended lifecycles.

    Incredible Machinability

    Delrin has unique qualities that make it simple to deal with and process using traditional and sophisticated technology. It also has higher flow rates than other polymers, which allows for more consistent thin mold wall filling.

    Low Coefficient of Friction

    Delrin is ideal for the fabrication of maintenance-free sliding and moving parts. Furthermore, its natural lubricity is an excellent choice for parts requiring minimal or no friction during operation.

    High Stress and Strain Capacity

    Delrin has outstanding spring-back properties when compared to metals. Furthermore, it is suitable for buckle and snap-fit applications due to its high strain and spring-back capacities.

    Moisture Resistance

    Delrin is a material that does not absorb moisture. Thus, you can use it in humid environments. In addition, it is resistant to organic solvents, making it rust-resistant. As a result, it is an excellent material for various industrial processes.

    What is Nylon?

    Nylon is a synthetic polyamide belonging to the group of condensation polymers due to its method of synthesis. Nylon plastic is made by a process called condensation polymerization. The monomers used in this method include diamines and dicarboxylic acids.

    nylon plastic for rapid prototyping

    A condensation polymerization process involving these monomers causes them to form peptide bonds with a water molecule produced as a byproduct. Most nylon forms are semi-crystalline, and they have symmetrical backbones. Therefore, they are stiff, strong, and chemical resistant, making them excellent fibers for fabrication. The first nylon produced in 1935 was Nylon 66, with increased demand leading to the production of newer variants.

    Generally, nylon is a tough material. In addition, it has good thermal and chemical resistance. However, this material may absorb moisture from the environment, causing some level of instability and reduced functionality. Fortunately, we can use preconditioning treatments to mitigate these effects.

    Different Nylon Grades Available for Rapid Prototyping

    There are numerous plastic nylon types, usually identifiable by numbers. The numbers depend on the number of carbon atoms in the dicarboxylic acid and diamine monomers. Three of the most common options are:

    Various nylon material grades

    ● Nylon 6

    This homopolymer comes as a result of the ring-opening reaction of caprolactam. It is a polyamide made with six caprolactam carbon atoms. Thus, its name – Nylon 6. It has a slightly lower crystallinity than its counterpart and may absorb moisture more rapidly. Adding glass or carbon fiber to Nylon 6 may increase its tensile strength.

    ● Nylon 6,6

    This nylon grade comes as a result of the polycondensation of adipoyl chloride and hexamethylene diamine. It is a commercially important polyamide, dominating the nylon market. Additionally, it is the strongest nylon variant with the widest temperature and moisture range. It also exhibits no significant flow beyond its melting point.

    ● Nylon 12

    Polymerization of lauric lactam with 12 methylene units helps to produce this nylon. When dry, this grade of nylon can resist high impacts even at low temperatures. It also has excellent cracking resistance. Therefore, it is ideal for making gear wheels, housing parts, damping plates, friction bearings, etc.

    Properties of Nylon

    The following are the properties of nylon making it useful in manufacturing:

    • High melting temperature
    • High tensile strength
    • Low friction coefficient
    • Resistance to wear and abrasion
    • Chemical resistance
    • High machinability

    Applications of Nylon Plastic

    nylon material applications

    Its numerous advantageous properties make nylon useful for several applications. You can find this material across various industries, including agriculture, automobile, sporting, food production, and construction. Some examples of materials produced from nylon are:

    • Plastic fasters
    • Vehicle parts
    • Cookware
    • Food packaging
    • Pump parts
    • Under-hood components
    • Fan blades
    • Gears and bearings
    • Screws
    • Thin-walled features

    Advantages of Nylon

    With many grades of molded nylon parts, you can get distinctive properties and benefits from using this material. It is suitable for many machining operations, including 3D printing, to get desired products. Some of nylon’s benefits include:

    It is Strong and Durable

    This advantage is one of the primary reasons for choosing nylon for a variety of applications. Nylon is a sturdy material with high wear and abrasion resistance. This combines with its impressive tensile and compressive strength to make it a durable plastic material.

    Nylon is Lightweight

    Another advantage of nylon is its lightweight properties. The popular belief is that it is 1/7th of most conventional manufacturing materials’ weight. Thus, it is suitable for many applications requiring weight restrictions.

    Relatively Waterproof

    Unlike several other materials, nylon often forces moisture to its surface for evaporation. Its inability to absorb moisture makes it suitable for food packaging because it prevents the growth of molds. It also makes cleaning easy and less costly.

    Ease of Fabrication

    Nylon is fast drying. You can also pre-color or dye it into any color you choose. Its low moisture absorbency combines with the initial properties to make for easy machining and production processes.

    Nylon vs Delrin: Choose the Suitable Material for Your Project

    Having examined the difference between Delrin and nylon, you will understand the right option for your project. Both of these plastic polymers have unique properties that make them ideal for various applications. Delrin offers greater impact, creep, and chemical resistance in addition to greater dimensional stability.

    rapiddirect plastic machining

    Therefore, it is a great option for low moisture absorption applications in wet environments. It also works excellently for machined parts like grill components, valves, handles, etc. On the other hand, nylon is the best option for 3D printing applications. It is also a much better choice in high-temperature environments. Ultimately, the final applications of your component will determine the material you choose.

    Despite the Delrin nylon comparison, it may be challenging to choose the right material. In that case, RapidDirect is ready to help you with material selection. The expertise and knowledge of our engineers ensure that we make the best decision for your manufacturing project. Our manufacturing and prototyping services are also top-notch.

    All you need to do is upload your design file on our online quotation platform. You will get a quote within a few hours. You can also configure your order specifications and production status after placing your order. Contact us today for any inquiries.

    Try RapidDirect Now!
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    Is Delrin stronger than nylon?

    While both materials are strong and durable, nylon has a higher tensile strength of 12,000 psi than Delrin with 10,000 psi. However, both materials are versatile and have high impact and wear resistance.

    What is Delrin good for?

    Delrin is more suitable for industrial applications and parts exposed to moist environments. It is a good material for machining pumps and valve components. Other common uses are bearings, rollers, fittings, bushing, etc.

    Can Nylon be 3D printed?

    Nylon is one of the most popular 3D printing materials for professional users. You can 3D print with FDM, MultiJet Fusion, and Selective Laser Sintering.


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