About UHMW and HDPE
UHMW (Ultra High Molecular Weight) polyethylene plastic has one of the highest impact strengths of any thermoplastic and has excellent abrasion resistance and tensile strength. UHMW has the highest impact strength of all the polyethylenes and the material will outwear carbon steel 10 to 1 in some applications. UHMW also has excellent resistance to stress and cracking, and the material has a low coefficient of friction (UHMW is self-lubricating). This last property makes UHMW a preferred material for parts in sliding applications, those involving rough surfaces, or any situation where overcoming friction is important.
HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) has a somewhat lower tensile strength than UHMW. It possesses excellent chemical resistance and low moisture absorption. HDPE is used in a variety of applications and industries where impact resistance, high tensile strength, low moisture absorption and chemical and corrosion resistance properties are required. In terms of machining, HDPE finishes a little better than UHMW, although both materials machine well.
A wide range of UHMW and HDPE grades are now available to produce parts which support specific applications. For example, AS/UHMW is available as an anti-static grade for producing parts which protect against the build-up of electrical charges.
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