UHMW is quickly emerging as one of the best replacements for metallic parts in industrial facilities. In fact, this performance plastic has proven to consistently outperform alternative materials, including metals, in these applications. The versatility of UHMW has made it a popular choice for those looking for new solutions to improve their operations and reduce downtime. It is important to consider that not all materials are created equal, and this article will provide an overview of UHMW and how it can be used to improve performance within your industrial applications.
What is UHMW
UHMW stands for Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene and is defined as a polyethylene whose molecular weight is 3.1 million or higher. This machinable thermoplastic is well known for its extreme toughness, outstanding abrasion resistance, and extremely low coefficient of friction. In addition, its impact strength is high, and its chemical resistant is excellent. UHMW is a great general-purpose material because of its versatile characteristics, and it can be used in almost any environment.
Advantages of UHMW
Some of the primary benefits of UHMW include its strength, durability, and high impact resistance. UHMW is also particularly advantageous when used in applications that need to withstand constant friction. However, one of UHMW’s greatest advantages is its food-safe properties, making it one of the few materials that meet various regulatory compliances. UHMW is also corrosion resistant and has a very low rate of moisture absorption, making it the perfect option for applications that face unique environmental challenges.
Common UHMW Applications
- Conveyor systems
- Material Handling Wear Strips and Components
- Bearings and Bushings
- Star Wheels
- Docks and Dock Fenders
- Chute, Hopper, Silo, and Truck Bed Liners
Properties of UHMW
- Tensile Strength: 3,100psi
- Flexural Modulus: 110,000psi
- Coefficient of Friction: 0.09-0.12
- Melting Point: 266°F
- Max Continuous Service Temp in Air: 180°F
- Coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion: 7.2 x 105 (in/in/°F)
- UHMW does not break in impact strength tests using standard notched specimens; but the double notched specimens break at 20 ft-lb/in
At Piedmont Plastics, environmental responsibility is undoubtably a top priority for us. We are proud to supply a wide range of eco-friendly materials, including reprocessed UHMW for those looking for a more economical and environmentally-conscious material. Reprocessed UHMW shares many of the same characteristics as its virgin counterpart, including its impressive durability, impact strength, low coefficient of friction, inherent lubricity, and chemical resistance. This recycled material is made with a blend of virgin and recycled UHMW and it’s found in similar applications as well. Furthermore, if you’re in need of a durable plastic part for your industrial applications, but want to improve your environmental sustainability, then reprocessed UHMW might be the right product for you!
At Piedmont Plastics, we offer a wide variety of performance plastic materials for your industrial applications. Contact us to inquire about our various solutions or call us today to speak with a plastics expert!