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Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene

Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) is a thermoplastic polyethylene.

What is UHMWPE?

UHMWPE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) is a thermoplastic polyethylene with very long molecular chains which transfers load more effectively to the polymer backbone by strengthening intermolecular interactions. This results in a very tough material, with the highest impact strength of any thermoplastic presently made. It has very high abrasion resistance, shows zero water absorption, is self-lubricating and has a friction coefficient only slightly above most filled PTFEs. As a rigid material, it needs an energizer to work effectively as a sealing material.


Why use UHMWPE?

The abrasion wear resistance  of UHMWPE is between 5 and 10 times greater than that of filled PTFE materials and it is stable in all hydraulic fluids, with high resistance to acids, bases and aggressive media. The water repellent, zero swell and self-lubricating properties make it ideal for use in aqueous solution applications where long service life can be achieved. It has very high extrusion resistance and the material is also particularly resistant to ionizing radiation in comparison to other sealing materials.

UHMPWE Mix Cropped UHMPWE Mix Cropped

When to use UHMPWE

UHMWPE seals are ideally suited to water sealing applications and the material toughness provides excellent wear resistance in applications where the media being sealed is abrasive or the system is subject to contamination and dirt ingress. It is also physiologically safe making it very suitable for use in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical processing industries. UHMWPE has limited resistance to aromatic and halogenated hydrocarbons and a usage limiting factor for this material is the high temperature capability; recommended operating range is -200°C (-328°F) up to just +80°C (176°F). With care, under low pressure and speed applications for example, operation at up to +120°C (248°F) can be successful and for brief periods, such as during sterilization processes, higher temperatures can be tolerated.

Standard UHMWPE materials

This is a small selection of our general purpose UHMPWE materials. Many more compounds are available and can be chosen to suit the specifics of the application.

The tensile strength and elongation are for specification purposes. Typical achieved values can be significantly higher.

Temperature range  is general recommendation for static application in air. Temperature ratings are subject to full application review.

Ceetak code
Material group
Tensile Strength
MPa min
Elongation at Break
% min
Recommended operating
temperature range
Callout ASTM D2000
-200°C to +80°C
-200°C to +80°C
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