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1 min read

Thermoset vs. Thermoplastic Bearings

By Dave Biering on June 16, 2015

 What is the difference between thermoset and thermoplastic bearings?

What is the difference between thermoset and thermoplastic bearings? 

This is a great question that came to us in a recent site visit. I thought I’d share the key differences between the two:

The primary difference between these two bearing materials is that thermoset plastics retain their solid state indefinitely, and include just a few trade names. Thermoplastic bearing materials can be heated and reheated many times to form new shapes. Thermoplastics are the largest groups of plastics and include PVC, PEEK, polyethylene, nylon, acetal, and acrylic. Thermoplastics are particularly good for machining into custom fabricated components (explore The Essential Guide To Machining Plastics)

Thermoset plastics: 

  • Do not melt since they chemically change in molding 
  • Are usually brittle and chip easily 
  • Include fillers 
  • Common formulas: 
    • Phenolic 
    • Epoxy 
    • PTFE 
    • Mycartas 
    • Melamines 


  • Largest class of plastics 
  • Melt and reform without any chemical change 
  • Filler options include: 
    • Glass fibers 
    • Carbon fibers 
    • Graphite 
    • Carbon 
    • Molybdenum disulfide 
    • PTFE

Still confused about these similar-sounding bearing materials? Connect with the thermoplastic bearings expert to answer your questions! 

Download our Machining Plastics White Paper

Topics: Thermoplastic bearings