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Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMW-PE)

UHMW-PE is a thermoplastic, further classified as a polyethylene plastic. It has a fairly high ductility and a fairly low density among thermoplastics. The graph bars on the material properties cards below compare UHMW-PE 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.

Thermal Properties

Melting Onset (Solidus)

130 °C 270 °F

Specific Heat Capacity

1750 J/kg-K 0.42 BTU/lb-°F

Thermal Conductivity

0.41 W/m-K 0.24 BTU/h-ft-°F

Thermal Expansion

180 µm/m-K

Vicat Softening Temperature

75 °C 170 °F

Electrical Properties

Dielectric Constant (Relative Permittivity) At 1 Hz

2.2

Electrical Dissipation At 1 Hz

0.045

Electrical Dissipation At 1 MHz

0.053

Other Material Properties

Density

0.94 g/cm3 59 lb/ft3

Elastic (Young's, Tensile) Modulus

0.8 GPa 0.12 x 106 psi

Elongation at Break

400 %

Tensile Strength: Ultimate (UTS)

49 MPa 7.1 x 103 psi

Common Calculations

Stiffness to Weight: Axial

0.47 points

Stiffness to Weight: Bending

33 points

Strength to Weight: Axial

14 points

Strength to Weight: Bending

32 points

Thermal Diffusivity

0.25 m2/s

Thermal Shock Resistance

25 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

CRC Materials Science and Engineering Handbook, 4th ed., James F. Shackelford et al. (editors), 2015