UHMW (Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) is a thermoplastic polyethylene plastic that is largely considered a specialized material for uses such as joint and bone replacements, sails and high-end fibres and ropes.
UHMW is very tough and resistant to chemicals while having a low moisture absorption rate. It also is self-lubricating with a very low coefficient of friction that is comparable to Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and much lower than nylon and acetal. It also has better abrasion resistance than PTFE’s such as Teflon®. It is up to ten times more abrasion resistant than carbon steel.
UHMW comes under tradenames such as TIVAR®. At Plas-Tech Fabrications we use the follow methods to manufacture goods :
- CNC Machining
- General Machining (sheets cut-to-size)
Common applications include personal armour, artificial joints, moulds for plastics, wear strips for conveyors and elevators and surfaces exposed to chemicals and abrasive washing such as in the food industry. A more recent development for UHMW is with synthetic or artificial ice skating surfaces where it can be used practically at any temperature and under any conditions with little maintenance.