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

Differences Between UHMW and PTFE

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.

PTFE (polytetrefluoroethylene) is a soft, low friction fluoropolymer with outstanding chemical resistance and weathering resistance. PTFE is stable at temperatures up to 500°F and it is often used in high temperature environments. PTFE also has excellent electrical insulating properties.

UHMW Material Characteristics
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Impact resistant
  • Easy to fabricate
  • Good for friction and wear
  • Good for bearings
  • Easy to machine
  • Low moisture absorption
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®
PTFE Material Characteristics
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Impact resistant
  • High temperature
  • Easy to fabricate
  • Good for friction and wear
  • Good electrical insulation
  • Good weathering
  • Sealing
  • High purity
  • Easy to machine
  • Hydrolysis resistant
  • Good for bearings
  • Soft and formable
PTFE Applications:
  • Seals and gaskets
  • Valve and fitting components
  • Pump parts
  • Manifolds
  • Semiconductor equipment
  • Scientific equipment
  • Chemical resistant tubing
  • Bearings and bushings (bearing grades)
PTFE Common Brands
  • Rulon®, Fluorosint®


Typical properties of UHMW vs. PTFE
Specific gravity (73°F)   D792 0.93 2.15
Tensile strength (73°F) psi D638 3,100 1,500 - 3,000
Tensile elongation (73°F) % D638 350 100 - 200
Flexural modulus of elasticity (73°F) psi D790 110,000 72,000
Rockwell M&R, Durometer Shore D (73°F)
scale as noted D785,
Shore D 64 Shore D 55
Izod impact (notched, 73°F) ft-lbs/in D256 18.0* 3.5
Coefficient of Friction   Dynamic 0.10 - 0.20 0.10
Coefficient of linear thermal expansion in/in/°Fx10-5 D696 11.1 8.9
Heat deflection temperature @ 66 psi/264 psi °F D648 - 250      -
Maximum continuous service temperature in air °F   180 500
Water absorption (immersion 24 hours) % D570 slight <0.01

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