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High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (HMWPE)

HMWPE is a thermoplastic, further classified as a polyethylene plastic. It has a very low tensile strength and a fairly low density among thermoplastics. The graph bars on the material properties cards below compare HMWPE to: polyethylene plastics (top), all thermoplastics (middle), and the entire database (bottom). A full bar means this is the highest value in the relevant set. A half-full bar means it's 50% of the highest, and so on.

Mechanical Properties

Elastic (Young's, Tensile) Modulus

0.7 GPa 0.1 x 106 psi

Tensile Strength: Ultimate (UTS)

17 MPa 2.5 x 103 psi

Other Material Properties


0.95 g/cm3 59 lb/ft3

Dielectric Constant (Relative Permittivity) At 1 Hz


Heat Deflection Temperature At 455 kPa (66 psi)

75 °C 170 °F

Common Calculations

Stiffness to Weight: Axial

0.41 points

Stiffness to Weight: Bending

31 points

Strength to Weight: Axial

5.0 points

Strength to Weight: Bending

16 points

Followup Questions

Further Reading

SPI Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., 5th ed., Michael L. Berins (editor), 2000

Modern Plastics Handbook, Charles A. Harper (editor), 1999

Plastics Materials, 7th ed., J. A. Brydson, 1999