Materials for Plastic Gears
AGMA 920-B15

This information sheet provides descriptions of plastic materials commonly used in gearing. It relates the general properties of these materials to typical operating conditions of gears. Properties that relate to the manufacturing processes of machining and molding are discussed, including the property of shrink rate in molding. It also describes the types of tests that are customarily used to obtain published values of these properties.

It is intended that this information sheet serve only as an introductory guide to the designer of plastic gears when it comes to selecting candidate materials. The designer is advised to look to material suppliers and plastic gear manufacturers for their expert guidance on selecting materials for specific applications. It is also important to recognize that thorough application testing is often needed to confirm the suitability of a material choice.

Only a limited number of plastic materials are mentioned here as commonly used for gears. Gears have been made from other plastics as well, but generally because some special material property or commercial consideration was judged essential to a particular application. It is also possible that the suitability of other materials for gears has not yet been recognized. Furthermore, new plastic materials are continually being developed and some, no doubt, will prove themselves as important additions to those discussed in this information sheet.

[The foreword, footnotes and annexes, if any, in this document are provided for informational purposes only and are not to be construed as a part of AGMA 920-B15, Materials for Plastic Gears.]

Plastic materials differ considerably from metals in performance and processing. Many of the important differences, especially those that are critical to gear applications, are not widely recognized. This is partly because many plastic materials specialists are not familiar with gear requirements. Similarly, many gear specialists are not familiar with plastic material characteristics. Hence the need for reference material which will help bridge these gaps.

The AGMA Plastics Gearing Committee has brought together technical representatives from plastic material suppliers, gear manufacturers and designers. This document represents their efforts to further this exchange of information. It will not supply answers to many of the questions that arise in the application of plastic materials to gears, but it should encourage inquiry and information exchange.

One issue that requires special attention is the availability of plastic material properties in the form most suitable for plastic gear design. This includes properties that are counterparts of those used in the design of metal gears, and those that are special to plastic materials in these applications. To a very large extent, plastic gear designers have access only to property data taken from ASTM tests as reported by material suppliers even though such tests were created to meet other objectives. It was therefore judged essential to include brief descriptions of these tests supplemented by comments on any limitations of such test data when applied to gears. Various industry initiatives are now underway to develop gear specific property data, which will in time supplement the information provided here.

The first draft of AGMA 920-A01 was made in 1993. It was approved by the AGMA membership in October 2000 and approved for publication by the Technical Division Executive Committee on October 22, 2000.

This edition of the information sheet, AGMA 920-B15, was created to:

  • revise definition of i found in Clause;
  • renumber figures to meet current style guidelines;
  • revise title of Figure 12, which previously appeared as Figure 11 in 920-A01.

The first draft of AGMA 920-B15 was made in January 2015. It was approved by the AGMA Plastics Gearing Committee in October 2015.

Suggestions for improvement of this standard will be welcome. They may be submitted to

ISBN: 978-1-55589-048-3 Pages: 50
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