UHMW-PE: There Is More To It Than Just “Black”

Posted: July 27, 2016 in UHMW
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One of the things we are most concerned with is connecting people with the right material for their application. Often, people especially in the DIY community generally know what they’re looking for but there is some confusion when you get into specifics. “Black” UHMW is one of the major areas of confusion for people not very familiar with industrial plastics. UHMW polyethylene is probably the best known industrial plastic and has many excellent DIY applications. However, the plastic also comes in 10+ grades with three of those grades being ‘black’ in color!

The three types of black UHMW vary widely in price and application. In many cases, when we try to help someone with selecting a ‘black’ UHMW the response is “quote them all” – that doesn’t help us, given the extra work to quote, and it doesn’t do anything to help you either!

A quick introduction on the three types of “black” UHMW:

-Black-Reprocessed: Economy-grade UHMW with regrind (colored flecks) in the plastic. It is inferior to natural grade UHMW in every way except it does have better wear properties due to cross-linking in the manufacturing process and it is about 30% cheaper. Widely stocked at many plastic distributors.

-Black-Virgin: Natural UHMW (no regrind) with carbon black. The product is equivalent to natural (white) UHMW but has better UV resistance. It is often used in rugged outdoor applications such as on the underbelly of jet boats.

-Anti-Static: The rarest UHMW for people to refer to as “black” this UHMW has additives so that small materials do not stick, such as grains. It is almost never used in DIY applications as it is very specialized.

Understanding which “black” UHMW you are searching for is critical to ensure your application is successful.

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