Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) is a modern polyethylen. To be classified as Ultra High Molecular Weight, the molar weight has to be in the millions. Usually between 2.5m g/mol to 5.5m g/mol. Compared to HDPE which is closer to several hundred g/mol.
Longer chains, woven properly, result in obvious material advantages in almost any fluid handling application.
The clearest and most domineering disparity is with High Density Polyethylene (HDPE).
Not only is UHMWPE lighter, but simply put it is better in every possible way:
- 10x more abrasion resistant (via proven testing)
- 5x lower surface roughness (ISO 8295)
- Increased temperature capability (particularly in the lower range), capable of -70 to +80 deg C operation
- Comparable elongation performance
- Anti-aging agent reduce UV degradation by comparison and otherwise increases design life
- Colourless, odourless and non-toxic
- Formed flanges, allowing for clean alignment. Mn16 inserts used at flange end to reduce turbulence down the pipe or bend
- Much higher corrosion resistivity, comparable to Teflon
- Higher tensile and yield tolerances
- Adders can be provided that make UHMWPE flameproof (allowing for minimal degradation in environments where this is a factor, UHMWPE will still ignite at 300 deg C, but will immediately self-rectify)
- Lighter and more durable, allowing for heavily reduced installation costs as large excavation and crane equipment will no longer be required
- Unlike other materials, UHMWPE is self-lubricating (part of why it is used as a ball material for hip joint replacement)
All this allows UHMWPE to improve on ANY process currently utilising HDPE and most that include Steel.