what is polyoxymethylene made of

Polyoxymethylene Composition Explained | Our Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on polyoxymethylene composition. In this article, we will delve into the intricate details of this versatile material, also known as acetal or POM. By understanding the composition of polyoxymethylene, including its materials, ingredients, and components, you will gain valuable insights into its properties and applications.

Polyoxymethylene is a semi-crystalline engineering thermoplastic that is composed of formaldehyde-based polymers. Its molecular structure consists of carbon bonded to two -OR groups, forming a unique chain configuration. This material is also known by other names, such as polyformaldehyde, polymethylene glycol, and polyoxymethylene glycol.

The development of polyoxymethylene dates back to the early 20th century, where researchers and chemists made significant strides in its creation. Formaldehyde is polymerized to produce this material, with different manufacturing processes resulting in variations of POM, such as homopolymer and copolymer forms.

Polyoxymethylene offers a wide range of desirable properties, including excellent mechanical characteristics, dimensional stability, and resistance to wear, chemicals, and organic solvents. Its versatility makes it a go-to choice across industries, including automotive, electrical, industrial, and drug delivery sectors.

Stay with us as we explore the fascinating world of polyoxymethylene composition and discover the numerous advantages it offers in various applications.

The Development of Polyoxymethylene

Polyoxymethylene, also known as POM or acetal, has seen significant development over several decades, with various milestones marking its progress. Researchers in the early 20th century discovered that formaldehyde could be polymerized to create materials with desirable properties.

German chemist Hermann Staudinger made pioneering contributions to the development of POM through extensive research on polymers and macromolecules. In 1920, Staudinger’s work led to the discovery of polyoxymethylene, laying the foundation for further advancements in polyacetal polymers.

In 1956, DuPont became the first company to commercially produce a POM homopolymer using a formaldehyde polymerization method with a coordination catalyst. This breakthrough resulted in the availability of POM for industrial applications and paved the way for its widespread use.

In 1962, Celanese introduced POM copolymer through an acid-catalyzed process, expanding the range of properties and applications of POM.

Milestones Year
Discovery of polyoxymethylene 1920
DuPont’s commercial production of POM homopolymer 1956
Introduction of POM copolymer by Celanese 1962

This continuous development in polymer chemistry, industrial manufacturing techniques, and material properties has propelled the field of polyoxymethylene forward, making it a versatile and reliable material used in various industries and applications.

polyoxymethylene development

Next Section: Production of Acetal Resins

Production of Acetal Resins

To produce acetal resins, including polyoxymethylene (POM), a polymerization process using purified formaldehyde is employed. Different manufacturing methods are utilized to create both homopolymer and copolymer versions of POM. Homopolymers are generated by polymerizing anhydrous, monomeric formaldehyde through anionic catalysis. The resulting polymer is then stabilized using acetic anhydride. In contrast, copolymers require the conversion of formaldehyde into trioxane via acid catalysis and cationic polymerization. The copolymer is subsequently purified to remove impurities like water. While copolymers are more stable in alkaline environments, homopolymers offer superior mechanical properties.

acetal resins production

Comparison of Homopolymer and Copolymer Properties

Property Homopolymer Copolymer
Alkaline Stability Less stable More stable
Mechanical Properties Higher mechanical strength Limited mechanical strength

The production of acetal resins enables the creation of various forms and grades of POM, each possessing its own unique set of properties and advantages. The choice between homopolymers and copolymers depends on the specific requirements of the application and the desired combination of stability and mechanical performance.

Key Properties of Acetal Resins

Acetal resins, such as polyoxymethylene, possess a diverse range of properties that make them highly sought-after for a variety of applications. These properties include:

  1. Dimensional Stability: Acetal resins exhibit excellent dimensional stability, maintaining their shape and size even in extreme temperatures ranging from -40°C to 140°C. This stability ensures that the components made from acetal resins retain their intended dimensions throughout their lifespan.
  2. High Mechanical Strength: Acetal resins have high tensile strength, rigidity, and toughness, making them suitable for demanding mechanical applications. These resins can withstand significant loads and impact forces without deforming or breaking.
  3. Resistance to Creep and Fatigue: Acetal resins have a low tendency to creep, meaning they resist deformation under prolonged stress. Additionally, they exhibit excellent fatigue resistance, allowing them to withstand repetitive loading without compromising their structural integrity.
  4. Environmental Stress Cracking Resistance: Acetal resins are resistant to environmental stress cracking, which occurs when materials crack due to the combined effects of stress and exposure to aggressive chemicals or solvents. This property enhances the durability and longevity of components made from acetal resins.
  5. High Crystallinity and Dimensional Stability: Acetal resins have a high degree of crystallinity, resulting in improved mechanical properties and dimensional stability. This characteristic enables acetal resin components to maintain their shape and structure over extended periods, even under varying environmental conditions.
  6. High Gloss Surfaces: Acetal resins provide components with a high gloss surface finish, enhancing their aesthetic appeal and overall quality.
  7. Excellent Wear Resistance: Acetal resins exhibit excellent wear resistance, allowing components made from these resins to withstand friction and abrasion over time. This property extends the lifespan of these components and reduces maintenance requirements.
  8. Chemical Resistance: Acetal resins offer good resistance to a wide range of organic solvents and chemicals (except phenols) at room temperature. This property ensures that components made from acetal resins remain unaffected by exposure to various substances, increasing their reliability and suitability for different applications.
  9. Low Smoke Emission: Acetal resins have low smoke emission when subjected to high temperatures, making them suitable for applications where fire safety is a concern.
  10. Low Coefficient of Friction: Acetal resins exhibit a low coefficient of friction, reducing the amount of friction and wear between components during operation. This property enhances the efficiency and performance of systems that incorporate acetal resin components.
  11. Low Moisture Absorption: Acetal resins have low moisture absorption properties, which minimizes the risk of dimensional changes or degradation caused by exposure to moisture or humid environments.

Acetal Resins

Processing Techniques for POM

Polyoxymethylene resins, like POM, can be processed using various techniques. The most common methods include injection molding and extrusion. Injection molding involves heating the POM resin to a specific temperature and injecting it into a mold under pressure. Extrusion, on the other hand, is used to produce semi-finished parts like sheets, rods, pipes, and profile sections.

POM Processing

Other techniques such as compression molding and rotational casting can also be used, depending on the desired final product. POM resins have a specific temperature range for processing and may require drying due to their hygroscopic nature.

Injection Molding

Injection molding is a widely used technique for processing POM. It involves the following conditions:

  • Melt temperature
  • Mold temperature
  • Injection pressure
  • Injection speed


Extrusion is another popular method for processing POM, particularly for producing semi-finished parts. The conditions for extrusion include:

  • Melt temperature
  • Screw speed
  • Die temperature

The choice of processing technique depends on the specific application and manufacturing requirements. Each technique offers unique advantages and considerations in terms of cost, complexity, and production volume.


In conclusion, polyoxymethylene (POM), also known as acetal, is a formaldehyde-based thermoplastic that offers a range of advantages for various industries and applications. The composition of POM consists of carbon bonded to two -OR groups, resulting in its semi-crystalline structure represented by the molecular formula (CH2O)n. POM is a fully recyclable material that has undergone significant development in polymer chemistry and manufacturing techniques over the years.

Through the polymerization of purified formaldehyde, different forms and grades of POM, including homopolymers and copolymers, are produced. This versatility allows for the creation of POM with diverse properties and advantages to suit specific requirements. Acetal resins exhibit exceptional dimensional stability, mechanical strength, wear resistance, and chemical resistance, making them highly desirable for a wide array of applications.

The processing of POM can be achieved through techniques such as injection molding, extrusion, compression molding, and rotational casting. These methods enable the manufacturing of mechanical components, automotive parts, electrical and electronic components, and more. The reliable and versatile nature of POM makes it a preferred choice in industries where performance, durability, and dimensional accuracy are crucial.

With its unique composition and superior properties, POM has established itself as a valuable material in numerous sectors. Its widespread use further emphasizes the significance of POM in modern manufacturing processes. Whether it’s in mechanical engineering, automotive technology, or consumer electronics, POM continues to contribute to advancements and innovation.


What is polyoxymethylene made of?

Polyoxymethylene, also known as acetal or POM, is made up of formaldehyde-based polymers. It contains carbon bonded to two -OR groups.

What are the components of polyoxymethylene?

The molecular structure of polyoxymethylene is (CH2O)n. It is composed of carbon bonded to two -OR groups.

Is polyoxymethylene a recyclable material?

Yes, polyoxymethylene is 100% recyclable.

Are there any other names for polyoxymethylene?

Yes, polyoxymethylene is also referred to as polyformaldehyde, polymethylene glycol, and polyoxymethylene glycol.

When was polyoxymethylene developed?

The development of polyoxymethylene dates back to the early 20th century, with key milestones achieved by researchers and chemists.

How is polyoxymethylene produced?

Polyoxymethylene resins are produced through the polymerization of purified formaldehyde. Different manufacturing processes are used to produce homopolymer and copolymer versions of POM.

What are the properties of polyoxymethylene?

Polyoxymethylene exhibits excellent mechanical properties, dimensional stability, wear resistance, and resistance to chemicals and organic solvents.

What are the processing techniques for polyoxymethylene?

Polyoxymethylene can be processed through methods such as injection molding, extrusion, compression molding, and rotational casting.

What industries and applications use polyoxymethylene?

Polyoxymethylene is used in a wide range of applications, including automotive, electrical, industrial, and drug delivery industries.

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