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Comparing HDPE and UHMW Polyethylene

Comparing HDPE and UHMW Polyethylene

HDPE vs UHMW: When to Use High-Density Polyethylene

HDPE and UHMW are popular and well known types of plastics across many different industries for their reliability, so much so that many people have started to use them interchangeably. However, their uses don’t coin cide nearly as often as many think–HDPE has different qualities that lend well to different applications. While both materials are very light, with a density of .94 – which means they both float in water.

When best to use HDPE

High-Density Polyethylene or HDPE is known for its versatility and low moisture absorption, which result from its high-density chemical makeup. Its chemical composition also makes it highly chemical resistant, so it’s excellent for applications that involve moisture or mild chemicals.

HDPE is also very easy to machine and shape. As a result, it has been used successfully to make plastic lumber, milk jugs, containers, cutting boards, and many other products.

In addition to being easy to machine, HDPE sheet and rod are also relatively lightweight, and can be NSF and FDA compliant. This very durable material can not be glued or bonded, and thus must be heat welded together or attached with mechanical fasteners. HDPE is excellent for applications where reduced weight and low costs are paramount. This, combined with its easy machinability, allows HDPE to be cut, drilled, routed and shaped for many different end uses. Food cutting boards, piping, storage vessels, marine components, and many more benefit from HDPE. It’s also been successful in outdoor furniture, signage, playground equipment, structural tanks, food processing equipment, vacuum-formed parts, transfer boards, tank liners–and this is just a small number of its applications.

When not to use HDPE

While HDPE and UHMW have similar properties, they are often better suited to different tasks. Both plastics do have high impact resistance, but UHMW (Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) performs better in applications where friction and constant impact are present. The UHMW molecular chain is much longer, thus giving UHMW the extreme wear resistance. This results in UHMW being used more often in functional components, like conveyor systems, concrete chute liners, mated parts, bumpers, and bearing applications. HDPE does not perform as well as UHMW under constant friction, making HDPE better for food processing surfaces, chemical resistant parts, decorative products, or components that will not experience constant friction. If a reduced friction application is needed, the use of UHMW with a coefficient of friction of just 0.08 (compared to HDPE with a coefficient of friction of 0.20) is much more suitable.

Find all your performance plastics at Industrial Plastic Supply

We are performance plastics experts, with a vast inventory available and the most experienced customer service team to offer our customers. Contact us today for more information about what we can do for you.

Performance Plastic Vs Single Use Plastic

Performance Plastic Vs Single Use Plastic

What is a Performance Plastic?

The quick answer is: the opposite of single use plastic.

Performance plastics are a wide range of materials that are designed for use in mechanical, engineering, aerospace, food processing, and  many other applications. These performance plastic materials generally have superior physical properties, and frequently are used to replace other materials like metals, wood and glass.

Most performance plastic sheets and rods are machinable, and can be used to replace other substrates that can not stand up to the same demanding applications that these performance plastics can. Performance plastics are the natural choice when considering replacement for traditional materials, such as bronze, stainless steel, glass, wood and copper, for not just one reason but rather a combination of features and benefits.

Nearly all Performance Plastic grades can be recycled.

Because of their cost-effectiveness as well as their reliability, durability, and special characteristics like resistance to chemicals and corrosion the high performance plastic materials are steadily replacing metals in the oil and gas industry. The constant development of new and better high performance plastics is therefore closely linked to the development and economic production of the range of available performance plastic materials. High performance plastics can be divided in amorphous and semi-crystalline polymers, just like all polymers.

Performance Plastics properties

Single Use Plastic properties

Long life – up to 50 years of serviceVery short, often instant throw away
Wear ResistanceVery cheap
Self LubricatingLittle to no physical properties
High Heat ResistanceVery low melting point
MachinableVery light weight
Can be Very UV ResistantDeteriorates quickly
Very Long LifeExtremely short life
Tough and DurableConsidered disposable
Very High Impact StrengthFlimsy, low value

Why use a Performance Plastic?

Performance plastics are designed for repeated or multi-use applications and generate a smaller carbon footprint than glass, steel, or wood. High performance plastics are plastics that can perform well under extreme environments. Because most performance plastics are considered ‘self lubricating’, these materials can be made into parts that replace metals, and don’t require the continual maintenance and lubrication that metals require.

Over the past few decades Mechanical Plastics have increasingly replaced metals due to their strength-to-weight ratios, and resistance to wear have surpassed aluminum and steel, respectively.  When certain additives are blended with thermoplastic polymers, this performance plastic can meet code and compliance requirements for smoke, flammability, and even toxic gas release. Several high end performance plastics can meet the stringent FM-4910 flame and smoke rating.

Performance Plastic materials are not ‘cheap’

As opposed to ‘single use’ plastics, the performance plastic materials are not inexpensive or ‘throw away’. Rather these high performance materials are designed for specific applications, and out perform most other substrates. Other characteristics of high performance plastics can be extraordinary resistance to wear and tear, high purity or particular electrical insulation. High performance plastics are plastics that can perform well under extreme circumstances. High performance plastics are best known for their temperature, chemical and wear resistance.

Performance Plastics offers high performance plastics for high performance applications, at economical prices, made by quality American made engineering plastics manufacturers. High-performance plastics are formulated to operate under extreme chemical, high temperature and heavy load applications or any combination of these. Most performance plastics are used where the highest demands are placed on thermal or chemical resistance, product mechanics, or on the self-lubrication of products. Several of our key North American suppliers are: Ensinger Plastics, Rochling Plastics, Z/L Engineering Plastics, Simona-America, Plaskolite, and many more.

There are many materials that are considered high performance plastic. Several of the better known and popular materials include: Nylon (Type 6, Type 6/6, Type 6/12), Acetal (both Acetal Copolymer and Acetal Homopolymer), Polysulfone, PTFE, Radel R5500, Ultem (Ultem 1000 and Ultem 2300) and PEEK (Victrex 450g), and many more. Each of these materials have their own unique set of physical properties as well as strengths and weaknesses. Please review the data sheets for each of these materials, and then contact us with any questions you may have on suitability for your applications.

In the performance plastic market, one size does not fit all. With over 50 high performance plastics, each with its own physical properties, several materials may be proper choices for your performance plastic requirement. Please feel free to call one of our certified and trained customer service personnel for assistance in choosing the best performance plastic for your application.

Recycled Plastic Lumber has Extreme UV Resistance

Recycled Plastic Lumber has Extreme UV Resistance

Does Recycling of Plastic Material Really Work?

Yes, UV Resistant Recycled Plastic Lumber lasts and lasts

What happens to your ‘blue recycled trash’ materials? A common question regarding recycling is, ‘Does It Work’?

The answer is ‘YES’ it certainly works.

One of the most recycled plastic materials is HDPE. This is the material that laundry detergent bottles, milk jugs, opaque vitamin bottles and many more common household containers are made from. The HDPE is a FDA and NSF approved resin, and is the go to material for cutting boards, margarine containers, food storage containers, and many of your milky colored drinking cups.

So, what happens to these items after you put them into your recycle bin?

Your local recycling center sorts through your clean recyclables and segregates the materials by the type of plastic. HDPE has the recycle code of #2, and this can be found on the bottom of many of your plastic items. The other plastic items are sorted out based on the recycle number and type of material. This allows for better and more efficient reprocessing of these resins into new and re-purposed items.HDPE recycled into usable lumber products

The reprocessing of plastic scrap or discarded post consumer products generated a large quantity of plastic material. The HDPE recycling market is a fast growing area of the recycled plastic sector. The other common plastic that is recycled is PET, which has the code of #1, and this is the very clear water bottles and soda bottle material.

Once the discarded containers and other HDPE scraps are collected, they are sent to a recycle plant. This is where the containers are cleaned, sent to the grinder, and converted into small pieces that can be used in the manufacture of new products. This reprocessing of post consumer goods into a usable plastic lumber is the first step in the recycling process. Much later, after the very long life of the HDPE recycled lumber is over, it can be again reprocessed into another recycled HDPE product, maybe even another piece of HDPE plastic lumber. The cycle of using an already produced plastic product, and then reusing, recycling or re-purposing this material is as environmentally responsible as any consumer can be. This ‘closed loop’ recycling eliminates the use of other natural resources, and cuts the impact on our planet.

Recycled Plastic into Lumber Cycle

In a recent press release, HDPE recycled content from milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles, shampoo bottles and other post consumer content are gathered. Then it is ground to usable sizes, and then reprocessed into Recycled HDPE Plastic Lumber. The only additive are the colorant and a UV stabilizer or UV resistant additive. The material is sent threw an extruded or molding process, and the result is a plastic boards that look like real wood, but will out last any wood product by 5 – 10 times, and not require the maintenance that we know is required with wood lumber. The premium recycled HDPE plastic lumber, made by Bedford Technologies, has a 50 year warranty.

That’s a long time, our UV Resistant Recycled Plastic Lumber will last.

Plastic lumber does not rot, splinter, require paint or sealants annually, nor any other regular maintenance. Perhaps a semi-regular washing down is all that would be needed to have this material continue to look like new.UV Resistant Recycled Plastic Lumber, and Why You Should Use Recycled HDPE Lumber

What are popular items that are made from this recycled HDPE plastic lumber? The limit to uses is only limited by your imagination. Some of the most common HDPE plastic lumber products are: outdoor decks, outdoor furniture, docks for lakes and marinas, trellises, walkways, playground components, parking bumpers, sign posts and many more. All of these items outperform the lumber products previous used for these applications.

Call us for more information on the available sizes and colors of recycles HDPE plastic lumber, 866-832-9315.

Best Methods To Pick The Proper Plastic Sheet Materials

Best Methods To Pick The Proper Plastic Sheet Materials

Best Tools To Assist In Your Plastic Sheet Search

Use the best available tools to narrow down the best plastic sheet material for your application.

What are the best methods to pick the proper plastic sheet material?
Use the tools that the professionals use to find the best plastic material for your application.

Where To Begin

The process of picking the proper plastic material starts with determining the ‘must have’ physical properties needed for your application. Designing a part with the minimum performance factors in mind will help to eliminate an overly
expensive part.

Critical factors to consider are:

  • Temperature requirements (short term and long term)
  • Chemical or Environmental Requirements
  • UV resistance (Will it be in direct sunlight)
  • Color or Transparency
  • Strengths (Impact and Compression)
  • Compliance Issues (Certification for FDA, NSF, Dairy, etc.)

Review The Plastic Property Comparison Guide

The first tool suggested is a chart produced by the IAPD (International Association of Plastic Distribution – http://iapd.org/) linked in picture below, and listed on this chart are the most common plastic sheet and plastic rod materials that are commonly available. In addition, the chart compares the physical properties of these common plastic materials. Click on picture to access chart.IAPD Plastic Selection Rectangle Chart
Included in this chart is a relative cost comparison, which will assist in limiting the materials to proper plastics for a application without over-designing and using an expensive ‘over kill’ material. Some common plastic sheet materials can be very expensive. Materials like PEEK (PolyEtherEtherKetone) can be in the $100 per pound range or more.

Start Search With Temperature Resistance

After looking over the IAPD (International Association of Plastic Distribution) Physical Properties Chart above, now it is time to evaluate specifics for your application. The critical factors listed above are ranked by most important to least important. If your part needs to handle a continuous temperature of 300 degrees F, this is a critical physical property. Picking a material that softens at 250 degrees is a
recipe for disaster. Pick a material that can handle the temperature first.

Will Part Have Chemical Exposure

Next, look at environmental requirements. Parts exposed to chemicals are important to research. Find the chemical make up and the concentration of the chemical to insure the material you pick can handle this solution. Many plastics have excellent chemical resistance as evidenced by evaluating the container the chemicals are stored in already. A common plastic that is chemical resistant is Polypropylene, the same material used for automotive batteries. While Polypropylene and HDPE sheets are excellent in chemical resistance, their temperature range is quite limited. Also, these two plastics can not be easily bonded or glued, and would require heat welding for assembly.

Does Your Part Live In The Sun

Most plastics do not handle long exposure to direct sunlight without an additional UV additive. The one exception is Acrylic, which is the most UV resistant plastic sheet available. Some plastics handle UV well if they have a carbon black additive, or a extra UV package added at time of production.

How Critical Is The Color

The most common colors in many plastic sheets are Natural (white to tan) and Black. While other colors are available with a special run, this may require a large minimum order. Some plastics, like HDPE are available in many colors and textures for use in marine, playground and food processing applications. In many plastic applications, a machined part is being made, and the color is the least important factor. If it is an internal part of a machine, no one really cares about the color of the part. Some clients look for materials in a specific color to help ‘brand’ their parts for easy replacement and identification.

Nylon with huge amount of stress, cooled too quickly

Nylon with huge amount of stress, cooled too quickly.

How Much Stress Will The Part See

Strength is a wide range of physical properties covering many stresses a part may be exposed to. From impact to compression, expansion to tensile strength, all of these can be critical in designing a plastic part. There are other factors in the ‘Strength’ realm, like Notched Izod and water absorption. If your part will be exposed to crushing pressure, pulling apart force or impact, these are critical things to consider prior to picking your plastic part.

PTFE is a soft and slippery plastic, but will ‘cold flow’ under high pressure, and High Pressure Laminates like G-10 FR 4 sheet can withstand some of the highest pressures. The Notched Izod tests for materials that break easily if a scored mark has been made in the surface. Acrylics break very easily if scored, but UHMW will not break at all under the same test.

What Agency Approval May Be Required

In many applications a part may require approval or testing to meet a third party certification. One such common application is for materials in food processing applications. Common requests included UL ratings, Fire Ratings, Military specifications and many more. Food contact is a popular request, covering material that is either FDA (Food and Drug Administration) or NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) approved. These agencies insure that materials are rigorously tested and comply with their requirements for safety. Some common materials used in food processing that meet the FDA certification are Acetal Copolymer – Acetal Homopolymer, HDPE, UHMW and Nylon, plus many others.
Once these steps have been completed, several materials should present themselves as meeting your criteria and physical property requirement. Unfortunately there is no one perfect plastic that works in all applications. However, for almost every application, there is a material that will work, and work better than most other substrates.

Cool Online Tool

There is also an additional tool that can be used to help identify some of these properties quickly, the Gehr Plastic Selector online application.

If you are still in need of assistance in identifying an appropriate plastic material, contact an experienced Plasticologist at Industrial Plastic Supply, Inc. – call 866-832-9315

Also see the article, New Methods To Pick Proper Plastic Sheet Materials, for additional information on this subject.

Why Use Makrolon Polycarbonate Sheet To Replace Plywood?

Why Use Makrolon Polycarbonate Sheet To Replace Plywood?

From Plywood To Polycarbonate Sheet

People in the plastics industry have known for over 50 years that Polycarbonate Sheets are tough. This clear plastic sheet material is commonly used to replace window glazing. The best known property for this polycarbonate sheet material is that it is break resistant, or in many cases, considered unbreakable. This is a great benefit for areas where window glass is broken easily.

Recently some cities have passed ordinances to change out the plywood window coverings on abandoned homes, and they are installing clear polycarbonate sheets instead. This is a very attractive replacement, and is a big step in fighting the blight of abandoned homes.

Polycarbonate is produced under several trade names, including Plaskolite Tuffak® GP, Covestro Makrolon®, SABIC Lexan®, Cyrolon®, Zelux® and many more. These materials are available in sheets, plate, slab, bar and rod.Premium Plaskolite Polycarbonate sheet. Tuffak, Makrolon, Lexan and more Polycarbonate brand names

Read more on this material below.

Excerpt from AZCentral, The Arizona Republic:

Property owners and banks in Phoenix had begun outfitting windows with sheets of polycarbonate, a thin, nearly indestructible plastic that mirrors the appearance of glass.

And last month, the city became among the first in the U.S. to make polycarbonate windows a matter of municipal law.

Phoenix now requires all window and door openings visible from the street to be secured with the material if the structure has been unoccupied for more than 90 days. The 90-day provision is also new, replacing the previous deadline of 180 days. The measures were the result of an abandoned buildings task force that Gallego spearheaded.

Read the rest of the story, and see Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski and City Manager Ed Zuercher attempt to break a polycarbonate window in Phoenix: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2015/04/02/phoenix-fights-blight-plastic-windows/70826784/ Durham County, North Carolina also made a change:

By Taylor Knopf, tknopf@newsobserver.com

No one likes living next to abandoned buildings with boarded up doors or windows. So the city of Durham started replacing the plywood eyesores with a clear, durable plastic.

The city is working to reduce the number of abandoned houses by helping owners fix them up. But for houses that still need boarding up, the city has found that plastic not only improves the overall appearance of a neighborhood, it may reduce crime by discouraging squatters and making it easier for police to see inside vacant buildings.

“I can’t stress enough how the elimination of the boards has a tremendous positive impact on neighborhoods and communities,” said Faith Gardner, housing code administrator of the city’s department of neighborhood improvement services.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/durham-county/article20778429.html#storylink=cpy

These communities have fought back against vandalism and crime, as well as enhanced the value of local homes by changing from Plywood to Clear Polycarbonate Sheets. Tuffak GP is a super tough glazing grade clear Polycarbonate Sheet material is the same kind of material that Police Officers use for face shields and banks are using for bullet resistant glazing.Transparent Tuffak and Zelux Polycarbonate Sheet and Plate

The premier manufacturer of Polycarbonate Sheet in the USA is Tuffak® PG made by Plaskolite and made from Covestro® (formerly Bayer MaterialScience) resins, and they produce Tuffak® GP Polycarbonate Sheet. Polycarbonate is also available in rod and thick plate for machined parts.

Consider using Polycarbonate sheet for your next glazing material.

Topic: Plywood to Polycarbonate Sheet

PVC Sheet and PVC Panels, PVC Is Much More Than Just Pipe

PVC Sheet and PVC Panels, PVC Is Much More Than Just Pipe

PVC Sheet and PVC Panels Go Way Beyond Pipe

When choosing a plastic raw material, the first step should be to look for the material with the proper physical properties. PVC (Polyvinyl-chlorideMachined PVC parts for chemical resistance or Rigid Vinyl) is an amazingly strong and versatile material that has proven itself a champion in the ever growing demand for mechanical grades of plastic. We can see its wide versatility in the way it is used and how it can keep up with the rough conditions it’s put under. PVC Pipe has been shown to take a beating in construction sites and it serves its purpose underneath our front lawns for our sprinkling systems. There are many more ways this strong industrial grade PVC can be used.

PVC Sheet and Rod for a wide variety of industrial and mechanical applications

A standard industrial plastics, it is available as PVC Sheet or PVC Rod. The PVC, unlike other materials, is very easy to work with. It’s not necessary to buy expensive tools to get the job done. You can use the most of the same tools you would use on wood and steel. Unlike other materials, PVC can be kept cool easily using cold water or you can use an air compressor. Standard CNC equipment, punch machines, routers, drills and saws can all be used to shape PVC. If you wanted to seal and bond this material, that’s not a problem because like the PVC Pipe, the sheets and rods can be bonded with cements or heat welded. The cost of PVC is also lower than most other plastic materials that are harder to work with. So you can see why PVC should be on your short list of plastic materials.

Standard PVC sheet sizes and thicknesses for PVC Sheet

The standard sheet size for PVC is 48” x 96”. Some of you may know those measurements because that is also the standard size of drywall and plywood. Because PVC comes in the same sizes as other common materials it would be fairly easy to store. As for the thickness .062” – 3” are the most standard thicknesses, but it can be made thicker if needed. The material cuts and fabricates well, and we do offer cutting to your blank or precision sizes. We also cut the rest of the industrial and engineering plastics, including: Acetal/Delrin, Nylon, PEEK, Ultem, and dozens more; call for details.

PVC Sheets take a beating

PVC has many excellent properties, including the unbelievable UL 94 V-0 flame rating. This certification means that the Rigid Vinyl material is fire retardant, and is considered ‘self extinguishing. By now you are probably were thinking “PVC sounds great so far, but I wanted to paint and screen print on a material”, then have no fear because PVC Sheet and Sheeting is here! PVC is also known for its ability to hold paint and a screen print. It is heat bendable, vacuum formable in thinner gauges, and bondable to materials such as wood, paper and other plastics. Because of PVC’s many usages and qualities we even see it being use to create house hold items.Dark Grey Gray PVC sheet and rod

The material can be sanded, routed and you can eliminate scratches and scrapes by simply buffing or sanding them away. With PVC being so versatile and also low in cost, it’s no wonder why it is a top choice for manufacturing and engineering companies. Click here for

PVC material specifications

Additional Reference Material About PVC Sheet, PVC Rod and Foamed PVC Sheet Here.

For additional details or to get answers to your questions, click here to email us.

Topic: PVC Sheet and PVC Sheets, Type 1, Type 2 and Clear