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-PE colored sheets | PTFE sheet and rod

UHMW Material Characteristics

PTFE Material Characteristics

• Good chemical resistance
• Low friction
• Extremely tough and durable
• Excellent abrasion resistance
• Low moisture absorption
• Easy to fabricate
• Outstanding chemical resistance
• Extremely low friction
• Performs well at elevated temperatures
• Soft and formable
• Good weathering resistance
• Good for bearings

UHMW Applications

PTFE Applications

• High speed conveyors
• Packaging machinery parts
• Food processing machinery parts
• Chute, hopper, and truck bed liners
• Wear strips and guide rails
• Star wheels and idler sprockets
• Bumpers, pile guards, and dock fenders
• Semiconductor equipment
• Scientific equipment
• Seals and gaskets
• Valve and fitting components
• Pump parts
• Manifolds
• Bearings and bushings (bearing grades)
• Chemical resistant tubing

UHMW Common Brands

PTFE Common Brands

• Polystone® M, Tivar®, GUR®, LubX® • Rulon®, Fluorosint®

Typical Properties of UHMW vs. PTFE

Property Units ASTM Test
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.

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