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UHMW Sheet versus Teflon (PTFE) Plate

UHMW Sheets vs. Teflon SheetTeflon PTFE Thread Seal Tape

UHMW (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) and Teflon (PTFE) are very similar materials, and yet very different at the same time. They both possess certain characteristics that make them similar to each other. As an example, they both have an extremely low co-efficient of friction, which means they are great for sliding applications and are easy to machine.

The both are very resistant to chemicals such as chlorine and some acids and have great wear resistance. They have low to no water absorption. They also are FDA approved for handling food. Teflon and UHMW Polyethylene are both nearly impossible to bond (without treatment) and are susceptible to sagging under tensile load which is called ‘creep’. These both have very low coefficient of friction and work well for wear strips, slide pads and truck liners to make it easy to empty. These two materials are different in many ways also, and choosing between the two materials for a specific job is very critical. Below are several examples of how these two materials are different.

1. UHMW is a polyolefin and Teflon – PTFE is a fluoropolymer. Polyolefins are double bonded carbon while Fluoropolymers are carbon and fluorine bonded. UHMW is a monomer which is consisted of one atom that will bond with another to form a polymer. Teflon is a polymer which is made up of a repeating chain of monomers.UHMW Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Truck Lining

2. Teflon has a higher temperature range than UHMW. Teflon has a continuous use temperature of 500 degrees F. UHMW is much lower with a continuous use temperature of 200 degrees F and a melting point of 271 degrees F. The UHMW starts to become brittle at higher temperatures while Teflon is much stronger and with a melting point of 621 degrees F.

3. UHMW has higher abrasion resistance than Teflon. Both have great impact and wear resistance but because of UHMW having a molecular weight between 2-6 million making it the best wear resistance material in the plastic family, it makes it ideal to take wear and impact over a wider range and longer period of time without losing its properties.

4. UHMW has a lower density than Teflon. This makes UHMW able to float in water while Teflon is significantly heavier and would sink.

5. Teflon has excellent electrical and thermal properties. Teflon is a better insulator and exhibits better electrical properties which can be used in radio frequencies, cables and circuit boards while UHMW cannot.

6. UHMW is much less expensive than Teflon. Especially recently, Teflon has become harder to come by, and during the last 18 months there has been a global shortage of a key raw material called fluorspar that is used to make all Fluoropolymer materials. The ability to take lots of wear and tear and requiring low long term maintenance makes UHMW more cost effective.

Click on the text links for data sheet comparisons for each material…

UHMW Sheet and Rod Data

PTFE – Teflon Sheet and Rod Data

Both the UHMW and the Teflon (PTFE) are available as sheet, sheets, sheeting, slab, strip, panels, film, round rod, rods and block. Contact us for assistance with these or other shapes.

Teflon Sheeting Properties

  • Specific Gravity D792 2.14 – 2.24
  • Tensile Strength Yield D638 2,500 – 6,000UHMW Polyethylene Timing Roller
  • Tensile Modulus D638 80,000
  • Izod Impact – Notched D256 3.0
  • Hardness – Rockwell D785 D50 – D65
  • Deflection Temp @ 264psi D648 150
  • Deflection Temp @ 66 psi D648 250
  • Co. Thermal Expansion D696 5.5X10-5

UHMW Sheeting Properties

  • Specific Gravity D792 .93 – .94
  • Tensile Strength Yield D638 6,800
  • Coefficient of Friction – Static D1894 .25
  • Izod Impact – Notched D256 No Break
  • Hardness – Rockwell D785 R64
  • Vicat Softening Temp D1525 260
  • Deflection Temp @ 66 psi D648 174
  • Co. Thermal Expansion D696 11.0X10-5

These are just some examples of plastic materials being similar, and yet having very different properties. Teflon and UHMW may appear very similar in color and can be used for some of the same applications, but when needed for a specific use or property needed, one might be substantially better than the other.  As the old saying goes, “You should never judge a book by its cover” and the same is true with plastic. Review the properties and test prior to choosing a final material for your application.

Call us for further assistance at 866-832-9315, or click here to contact us with your questions.

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