UHMW vs. Nylon

Compare UHMW and Nylon to identify the best option for your project

Differences Between UHMW and Nylon

UHMW (ultra high molecular weight polyethylene) is an extremely tough plastic with high abrasion and wear resistance. The versatility of polyethylene has made it a popular plastic for countless industrial applications that require durability, low friction, and chemical resistance. Applications include UHMW wear strips, chain guides, packaging machinery parts, and marine dock fender pads.

Nylon is a strong, stiff engineering plastic with outstanding bearing and wear properties. Nylon is frequently used to replace metal bearings and bushings often eliminating the need for external lubrication. Other benefits include a reduction in part weight, less operating noise, and decreased wear on mating parts.

UHMW Material Characteristics
  • Extremely tough and durable
  • Low friction
  • Excellent abrasion resistance
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Low moisture absorption
  • Easy to fabricate
UHMW Applications:
  • Chute, hopper, and truck bed liners
  • Wear strips and guide rails
  • Star wheels and idler sprockets
  • High speed conveyors
  • Packaging machinery parts
  • Food processing machinery parts
  • Bumpers, pile guards, and dock fenders
UHMW Common Brands
  • Polystone® M, Tivar®, GUR®
Nylon Material Characteristics
  • Excellent bearing and wear properties
  • Strong and stiff
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Easy to machine
  • Easy to fabricate
  • Reduced noise, weight, and wear of mating parts
Nylon Applications:
  • Bearings and bushings
  • Gears
  • Wear pads
  • Packaging machinery parts
  • Food processing machinery parts
  • Wheels
  • Rollers
  • Seals and gaskets
Nylon Common Brands


Typical properties of UHMW vs. NYLON
Specific gravity (73°F)   D792 0.93 1.14
Tensile strength (73°F) psi D638 3,100 12,400
Tensile elongation (73°F) % D638 350 90
Flexural modulus of elasticity (73°F) psi D790 110,000 410,000
Rockwell M&R, Durometer Shore D (73°F)
scale as noted D785,
Shore D 64 M85, R121, Shore D 80
Izod impact (notched, 73°F) ft-lbs/in D256 18.0* 1.2
Coefficient of Friction   Dynamic 0.10 - 0.20 0.28
Coefficient of linear thermal expansion in/in/°Fx10-5 D696 11.1 4.5
Heat deflection temperature @ 66 psi/264 psi °F D648 - -     194
Maximum continuous service temperature in air °F   180 210
Water absorption (immersion 24 hours) % D570 slight 1.20

Values may vary according to brand name. Please ask your Curbell Plastics representative for more specific information about an individual brand. *Double-15° notch