December 2011

Uses of UHMW-PE: From the fields to the grain elevator
UHMW-PE (ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene) offers reliable solutions to the farmer by extending equipment life and improving operational efficiency.

The agricultural industry faces a myriad of challenges through the range of its processes: from soil preparation, seed planting and crop harvesting to the delivery of farm products to market. Farmers face the prospects of rising energy costs, poor crop conditions, climate change and low crop prices. The very harsh physical environment farming equipment is exposed to is just as demanding. The effects of moisture, abrasion and impact are deleterious to the effectiveness and durability of farm equipment and components.Learn more.


Inside this issue

Addressing questions about UHMW-PE
Technical advisory
Sustainability of plastic:
Did you know…


Expand Your Knowledge

Addressing questions and statements about UHMW-PE

Many articles have been written about the characteristics of UHMW-PE (ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene). We make no attempt to reinvent the basic physical properties that have made UHMW-PE so popular. For high-wear applications, just about everybody in plastics distribution knows that UHMW-PE is the answer to many impact, release and abrasion problems.

There are some myths and misconceptions that we would like to address and some new formulations and profiles that offer interesting sales and profit opportunities for distributors. The following statements and questions we will discuss are posed to us, our distributors and end users regularly. Learn more.

Technical advisory

• UHMW-PE is defined as polyethylene whose molecular weight is 3.1 million or higher.

• As with most high-
performance polymers, processing of UHMW-PE is not easy. Because of its high melt viscosity, conventional molding and extrusion processes would break the long molecular chains that give the material its excellent properties.

• UHMW-PE has outstanding abrasion resistance and an extremely low coefficient of friction. Impact strength is high and chemical resistance is excellent.

Sustainability of plastic:
Did you know…

• Plastics engineers are always working to do even more with less material. Since 1977, the 2-liter plastic soft drink bottle has gone from weighing 68 grams to just 51 grams today, representing a 25 percent reduction per bottle. That saves more than 206 million pounds of packaging each year.

• The 1-gallon plastic milk jug has undergone an even greater reduction, weighing 30 percent less than what it did 20 years ago.

• Plastic bags require less total energy to produce than paper bags and they conserve fuel in shipping. It takes seven trucks to carry the same number of paper bags as what fits in one truckload of plastic bags.

More Plastics Resources

Introduction to Plastics is more than an introduction
It's everything you need to know about more than 50 plastic materials commonly used today in industry, signage and visual merchandising, building and construction, and pipe, valves and fittings. This book provides such details as:

  • Their comparative properties
  • How they're made
  • Appropriate applications
  • Processing and fabrication techniques

Learn more

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IAPD distributors are your best source for finding materials for your application. Go to to find a distributor in your area. You can search by company name, location or product category.

The IAPD Magazine
This bi-monthly magazine contains expert-written articles on innovative plastic materials and applications. Each issue focuses on different materials and industries. Subscribe today to stay informed of what’s going on in the plastics distribution market.

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Designing with Plastics is published by the International Association of Plastics Distribution. While every effort has been made for accuracy, IAPD encourages you to verify information with a plastics distributor to ensure you select the correct plastic products to meet your needs.