Polyethylene (PE) a.k.a UHMW-PE | PE1000
Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE, UHMW) is a subset of the thermoplastic polyethylene. It has extremely long chains, with a molecular mass usually between 3.5 and 7.5 million amu. The longer chain serves to transfer load more effectively to the polymer backbone by strengthening intermolecular interactions. This results in a very tough material, with the highest impact strength of any thermoplastic presently made.
UHMWPE is odourless, tasteless, and nontoxic. It embodies all the characteristics of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) with the added traits of being resistant to concentrated acids and alkalis, as well as numerous organic solvents. It is highly resistant to corrosive chemicals except oxidising acids; has extremely low moisture absorption and a very low coefficient of friction; is self-lubricating; and is highly resistant to abrasion, in some forms being 15 times more resistant to abrasion than carbon steel. Its coefficient of friction is significantly lower than that of nylon and acetal and is comparable to that of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, Teflon), but UHMWPE has better abrasion resistance than PTFE.
Areas of use:
• Electroplating industry
• General machine engineering
• Coal processing
• Packaging industry
• Conveying technology
• Paper industry
• Electrical industry
• Sheaves, guide rollers
• Sprocket wheels and pinions
• Chain guides
• Suction plates
• Roller knife and scrapers
• Chute linings for silos
• Conveyor trough linings
• Abrasion protection strips
PE-UHMW (PE 1,000; molar mass approx. 4,500,000 g/mol). Because of its high molar mass, it has very good wear resistance, bending strength and impact resistance and good noise absorption. Due to its excellent sliding properties and low sliding abrasion, it is the ideal material for lightly loaded components. Both PE-HMW and PE-UHMW are also available as regenerated material, although it must be noted that the respective physical properties are slightly reduced.
All PE types are resistant to acids, alkaline solutions, salts and salt solutions, alcohols, oils, fats, waxes and many solvents. Aromatics and halogenated hydrocarbons cause swelling. All PE types are not resistant to strong oxidising materials (e.g. nitric acid, chromic acid or halogens), and there is a danger of stress corrosion cracking.
As a general rule, no PE types are resistant to UV rays. This does not apply to the black coloured types, which are resistant to UV rays also in combination with atmospheric oxygen.
Behaviour in fire
All PE types are rated as normal flammable. When the source of ignition is removed they continue to burn and form droplets. However, apart from carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and water, only small quantities of carbon black and molecular constituents of the plastic develop as conflagration gases. The oxygen index (the oxygen concentration required for combustion) at 18% is low compared to other plastics.
In addition to the good welding properties of PE-HD and PE-HMW, all PE types can also be machined on machine tools. The semi-finished products can be drilled, milled, sawed, planed and turned on a lathe. It is also possible to cut a thread into the material or insert a threaded element. As a rule, no cooling or lubricating emulsion is necessary.
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