When to Use Plastic Washers

As a common alternative to metal washers, plastic washers for screws provide watertight seals, minimize vibrations, and offer unique benefits over their metal counterparts. These opaque or clear plastic washers are available in a wide range of material options to suit nearly every application. Here, we’ll discuss when to use plastic washers, including the common materials to consider when selecting a washer for your specific application.

Plastic Washers

delrin washersLike metal washers, plastic washers are disks with a hole in the center and function primarily to distribute a fastener’s load. Because of their nonmetal composition, plastic washers do not cause sparks, creating a safer and more reliable work environment. Plastic washers also streamline production by decreasing maintenance downtime.

For these reasons, plastic washers are an attractive, cost-effective option for many applications. Other benefits of plastic washers include:

  • Vibration and shock resistance
  • High-temperature resistance
  • Weather resistance
  • Water and moisture resistance
  • Nonmagnetic
  • Nonflammable
  • Nontoxic

Plastic Washer Material

Plastic washers come in a variety of material options. The best one depends on the unique needs of your application. Here are the most common plastic washer materials:

  • Nylon: Nylon is a highly versatile synthetic material that comes in several types and offers flexibility, abrasion resistance, chemical resistance, and machinability. This material is preferable for electrical and chemical applications due to its excellent absorption and insulation properties. Nylon washers are also a durable, lightweight alternative to metal washers in weight-sensitive applications.
  • Teflon™: Also known as PTFE, Teflon™is known for its extremely low coefficient of friction and resistance to water and oil. Compared to other washer materials, Teflon™ offers exceptionally high chemical and thermal resistance properties. These low-friction washers are ideal for HVAC, automotive, and plumbing applications.
  • Delrin®: Delrin® is a patented homopolymer with a stable crystalline structure that offers dimensional stability, stiffness, and durability in heavy-duty applications. The material also provides impact and temperature resistance from -50 °C to 90 °C, making Delrin® washers ideal for applications ranging from consumer goods to military equipment.
  • Polyethylene (PE): We offer both low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) washers. The flexibility of LDPE washers is ideal for water-resistant applications in drains, water systems, and fluid feeds. HDPE washers are stronger and less flexible, so they are better suited to mechanical and industrial applications that value crush and abrasion resistance.

Plastic Washer Applications

acetal washersPlastic is an exceptionally versatile and low-cost material for washers. The following applications rely on plastic washers:

  • Power tools
  • Furniture
  • Fasteners
  • Medical
  • Farm and Garden
  • Marine
  • Aerospace and Military
  • Government
  • Sporting Goods / Fitness Equipment
  • HVAC
  • Plumbing
  • Electronics
  • Consumer and Kitchen Appliances
  • Automotive

Plastic Washers From New Process Fibre

Plastic washers are a reliable alternative to metal washers for distributing fastener loads. Four of the most common materials include PE, Delrin®, Teflon™, and Nylon, each of which offers unique advantages.

To select the best plastic washers for your application, consult with an industry professional. Since 1927, New Process Fibre has been a leader in custom nonmetallic solutions. Contact us to learn more about our plastic washers for OEM equipment across diverse industries.

Delrin® Washers: What Are They, and How Can They Be Used?

Delrin® is a unique formulation of Polyoxymethylene (POM) developed by DuPont™. This thermoplastic is a high-performance acetal homopolymer resin with numerous desirable physical, mechanical, and chemical properties.

It is especially renowned for its durability, stiffness, and dimensional stability. Delrin® components can operate in a wide temperature range, displaying exceptional toughness in temperatures as low as -50oC and as high as 90oC.

These attributes make Delrin® perfect for high impact and heavily loaded applications such as gears, bearings, pumps parts, and vehicle components. Washers, in particular, are subject to a range of demanding applications, making Delrin® the ideal material for washer construction.

Delrin® Washers

Washers are thin, flat rings primarily used to distribute the load caused by the tightening or joining of two surfaces. They are also commonly used as seals, spacers, wear pads, and locking devices. Regardless of the application, washers must resist significant axial compression, friction, torque, and abrasion to function effectively.

Delrin® washers offer a number of benefits compared to other polymeric materials, some of which include:

  • High strength properties – When tightened, washers can experience significant axial compressive loading. Delrin® has a compressive strength of 5200psi (approximately 1000psi more than standard reinforced concrete), thus ensuring the washer maintains its structural integrity when torqued.
  • Excellent dimensional stability – Delrin® washers are highly effective at preventing leaks as they maintain their shape and overall dimensions even when exposed to sudden changes in temperature and humidity.
  • Chemical resistance – Exposure to certain chemicals can cause some polymeric materials to break down or deteriorate. Delrin® washers are particularly resistant to hydrocarbon-based compounds, making them ideal for applications in the oil and gas industry.
  • Low moisture absorption – Delrin® is highly resistant to moisture absorption, thus allowing these washers to operate in wet or humid environments without any adverse effects to its physical and mechanical properties.
  • Superior resistance to abrasion and wear – Tightening procedures can be highly abrasive as the washers are squeezed and rubbed against mating surfaces. Delrin® washers exhibit exceptional resistance to abrasion, especially in applications with frequent tightening and loosening.
  • Low coefficient of friction – The low friction coefficient of Delrin® washers prevents the buildup of excessive friction while tightening, thus allowing for greater tightening torques and higher bolt axial load.

Industries That Use Delrin®

Available in several specially formulated compositions and grades for a diverse range of applications, Delrin’s® composition and desirable properties make this thermoplastic an essential component in a number of sectors, including:

  • Aerospace and military
  • Automotive
  • Consumer and kitchen appliances
  • Electronic and electrical insulation
  • Fasteners
  • Furniture
  • Materials and equipment
  • Power tools
  • Plumbing

Delrin® Washers from New Process Fibre

At New Process Fibre Co., we offer a broad range of Delrin® washers in a variety of sizes, blends, and grades to meet the requirements of almost any industrial application. Reach out to our support team to find out if Delrin® washers are the right choice for your next project.


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