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The Differences Between UHMW Tubing and HDPE Tubes: What You Need to Know

In the world of custom plastic extrusion, two of the most common types of materials that you’re likely to work with are UHMW and HDPE. UHMW is short for “ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene,” while HDPE is short for “high density polyethylene.”

They both have a number of far-reaching applications and are often used to craft things like tubing, for example. By understanding what makes each one unique, you’ll put yourself in a better position to select the most appropriate option while preparing for your next big project.

UHMW vs. HDPE: Your Guide

The major characteristic that separates UHMW from HDPE tubes has to do with their construction. UHMW is made up of long polymer chains, which is part of what gives it its desirable molecular weight. HDPE, on the other hand, is constructed in a way that plays to its strength-to-density ratio.

Where UHMW and HDPE vary significantly has to do with the types of applications they are appropriate for. because UHMW is both durable and lightweight, for example, it is often used in assembly lines, as parts for marine docks, and with various electrical components. HDPE, on the other hand, is often used for things like compost containers, storage containers, and even as playground equipment (in non-industrial settings, of course). This is because HDPE is resistant to not only issues like mold and rot but also problems in these areas like insects as well.

Of course, UHMW and HDPE also have a lot of things in common as materials, too. Naturally, they’re two examples of durable thermoplastic polymers. When you are looking at them side-by-side, you would likely not be able to tell the difference – that’s how similar they are in appearance.

They’re also cheaper than other types of materials that you may be thinking of working with (like steel), are resistant to corrosion, have high impact resistance, and have excellent adhesion properties. So regardless of which type of material you happen to choose, be it HDPE tubes or UHMW, you’ll certainly find that they have a lot to offer.

The Spiratex Approach to Custom Plastic Extrusion

At Spiratex, we’ve set out to be so much more than just another custom plastic extrusion provider. In fact, we take “custom” to a whole new level. We have no minimum order requirements and the more complicated your needs are, the better. We love helping our clients accomplish their goals so much that we utilize both ram extrusion and conventional or “screw” extrusion. Literally nobody else does both but if that’s what we need to offer our clients the specificity they demand, that’s a step we’re willing to take.

If you’d like to find out more information about the major differences between UHMW tubing and HDPE tubes, or if you’d like to learn about the advantages of custom plastic extrusion and what it can do for your next big project, contact your partners at Spiratex today.

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