Contractor Tips Blog


HDPE vs UHMW Polyurethane Products

Polyurethane is a popular material for many industrial products, but there are many different variations on this material. Two common options you will find are High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Ultra High Molecular Weight (UHMW). While both may look the same, to determine which is right for your application, it is important to know the differences and best uses for these types of polyurethane.

HDPE Basics

HDPE is high density, which means it the polymer chains are packed tightly, making it a harder material that can withstand high impact. The molecular structure is great for resisting liquid absorption, chemical reactions and impact. Some of the more common applications for HDPE include:

  • Pipe fittings
  • Containers for liquids, both chemical and food-grade
  • Cutting surfaces
  • Trays

UHMW Basics

UHMW polyurethane has the highest molecular density of thermoplastic polymers. It is very durable, resisting cracking, impact, water absorption and chemical reactions. One of the differences in this material versus other polymers is its smoothness to allow easy sliding. Products that are often made from UHMW include:

  • Rollers
  • Screws
  • Sliding plates
  • Gears

The main difference between HDPE and UHMW is how they are made and the molecular structure. UHMW has high molecular weights and long polymer chains versus HDPE which is known for having a high strength-to-density ratio. Each has its benefits and is better suited for different applications.

If you are looking for polyurethane products, it is important to have a supplier that can choose the best material for your needs. Discuss the virtues of both HDPE and UHMW with your industrial material provider to determine which is best for your application.

Posted on behalf of:
The King Group, Inc.
6865 Shiloh Road East, #100
Alpharetta, GA 30005
(770) 886-1113

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