Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE) is a type of plastic classified as an engineering plastic. Due to its excellent durability and sliding properties, it is used as a material for mechanical parts such as gears and guide rails, as well as hoppers. This article describes the characteristics and applications of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene and how it differs from fluoropolymers.
What is Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene?
Ultra High Molecular Weight Poly Ethylene refers to polyethylene whose molecular weight is increased from 200,000 ~ 300,000 to 1,000,000 ~ 7,000,000. It is sometimes called “UHMW-PE,” “UHMW,” “U-PE,” or “UPE” using the initials of its official name. Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene is a synthetic resin classified as a thermoplastic resin and is one of the engineering plastics. Due to its excellent Wear resistance and lowest friction second only to fluoropolymers, it is used as a material for mechanical parts such as gears, guide rails, and hoppers.
Characteristics of Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (advantages and disadvantages)
Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene has the following characteristics
・Excellent lowest friction and wear resistance
The main characteristics are excellent lowest friction and wear resistance. Since there is little risk of scratching or scraping, it can be used for sliding applications for a long time.
・Excellent impact resistance
Very high impact resistance, exceeding that of polycarbonate (PC).
・Excellent chemical resistance
Because of its stable molecular structure, it also has excellent chemical resistance. Therefore, it can be used in environments where liquids and chemicals are used.
・Excellent water absorbency
Its low water absorption rate of less than 0.01% makes it an ideal material for areas where water is used.
・Not suitable for high temperatures
The maximum operating temperature of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene is generally considered to be 80℃, making it unsuitable for use in high-temperature environments.
However, it is considered usable up to -100℃ in low-temperature environments.
・Large coefficient of thermal expansion
Since ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene has a large coefficient of thermal expansion, it is not suitable for locations where rapid temperature changes occur.
・Not suitable for adhesive processing
Due to its high self-lubrication, it is difficult to bond with different material materials.
Note that when combining it with other parts or materials, it is necessary to devise a design in advance.
Uses of Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene
Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene is used in a variety of applications due to its excellent properties.
It is mainly used in many applications that take advantage of its high wear resistance and self-lubrication properties.
Introduction of Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Tapes
Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene is used in a wide variety of applications. In addition to molded products such as machine parts, it is often processed into films and adhesive tapes. When used as an adhesive tape, it can partially impart the properties of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, making it easy to use in food factories and conveying processes. We manufacture adhesive tapes made of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene. If you would like to add the characteristics of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene to a part of your product, please consider using this product!
This product is an adhesive tape using ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW) film as the base material, with an acrylic adhesive coated on one side.
■ AUB-112B *Antistatic type
This product is an adhesive tape with a base material of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW) film containing conductive carbon and an acrylic adhesive coated on one side.
These products can be used for the following purposes:
Applications by industry
By attaching it to the guides of roller conveyors used in food and beverage factories and logistics factories, it prevents products from getting stuck and achieves smooth product transport. It also prevents damage to the products and guides.
In addition, in hoppers used in food factories, etc., by attaching it to the slope of the material input section, the material flows smoothly and the amount of residue in the hopper can be reduced.
Due to its excellent wear resistance and impact resistance, it is also used as automobile parts. In automotive applications, it is used in areas subject to impact and in applications where slipperiness is required.
It is also used for skis and snowboards that require smooth sliding properties, and for sliding parts of office automation equipment.
Difference between Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene and Fluoropolymers
The table below summarizes the differences between ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene and fluoropolymers.
For use in temperature environments of 100℃ to 200℃, it is recommended to consider fluoropolymers (PTFE).
When selecting a material, we recommend that you decide in advance which characteristics are important to you and then compare them.
* The data shown here are typical values and not quality assurance values.
More information about fluoropolymers can also be found here.
If you would like to consider fluoroplastic adhesive tape instead of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene adhesive tape, the following products are recommended.
This is an adhesive tape with a fluoroplastic (PTFE) film as the basic material and applied a silicone adhesive on one side.
If you are considering molded products other than ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, we can also propose PTFE machined products or PFA injection molding products. Please feel free to contact us.
■ PTFE machined products
These products are made by cutting materials for processing into various shapes according to customer specifications. They are used in a wide range of fields as parts with heat resistance, chemical resistance, and non-stick property.
■ Injection molding products
Injection molding products of various functional engineering plastics including fluoropolymers. Our extensive know-how enables us to propose appropriate shapes for molding products from the design stage.
Typical examples of our experience include fluoropolymers (PFA, ETFE, PVDF, ETCFE), engineering plastics/super engineering plastics (PEEK, PSU, 4-6PA, PPS, PEI, etc.), and commodity resins (PP, PE, PS, PVC, PBT, etc.).
Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene is an engineering plastic with excellent characteristics. Excellent lowest friction, wear resistance and impact resistance are the main characteristics of this product. Although not suitable for use in high-temperature environments of 100℃ or higher, this material is recommended for sliding applications in usable temperature environments and for applications requiring wear and impact resistance. Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene tape is recommended for applications that require high abrasion and impact resistance in addition to slipperiness.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like to try it first.