PTFE Sheet versus UHMW SheetsUHMW sheet compared with PTFE sheet Thread Seal Tape

UHMW (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) and PTFE Sheet (PolyTetraFlouroEthylene) are very similar materials, and yet very different at the same time. They both possess certain characteristics that make them similar to each other. For instance, they both have a very low co-efficient of friction, which means they are great for sliding applications and are easy to machine.

Both of these materials are very resistant to chemicals such as chlorine and some acids and have great wear resistance. They have low to no water absorption. They also are FDA approved for handling food. PTFE and UHMW Polyethylene are both nearly impossible to bond (without treatment) and are susceptible to sagging under tensile load which is called ‘creep’. These both have very low coefficient of friction and work well for wear strips, slide pads and truck liners to make it easy to empty. These two materials are different in many ways also, and choosing between the two materials for a specific job is critical.

Below are a few examples of how these two materials are different.

1. UHMW is a polyolefin and PTFE is a fluoropolymer. Polyolefins are double bonded carbon while Fluoropolymers are carbon and fluorine bonded. UHMW is a monomer which is consisted of one atom that will bond with another to form a polymer. PTFE is a polymer which is made up of a repeating chain of monomers.UHMW Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Truck Lining

2. PTFE has a higher temperature range than UHMW. The PTFE has a continuous use temperature of 500 degrees F. UHMW is much lower with a continuous use temperature of 200 degrees F and a melting point of 271 degrees F. The UHMW starts to become become soft at higher temperatures while the PTFE is much more resistant and with a melting point of 621 degrees F.

3. UHMW has higher abrasion resistance than PTFE. Both have great impact and wear resistance but because of UHMW having a molecular weight between 2-6 million making it the best wear resistance material in the plastic family, it makes it ideal to take wear and impact over a wider range and longer period of time without losing its properties.

4. UHMW has a much lower density than PTFE. This makes UHMW able to float in water while Fluoropolymers are significantly heavier (almost twice the density of UHMW) and would sink.

5. PTFE has excellent electrical and thermal properties. The virgin grade of PTFE is a better insulator and exhibits better electrical properties which can be used in radio frequencies, cables and circuit boards while UHMW cannot.

6. UHMW is much less expensive than the Fluoropolymers. Especially recently, PTFE has become harder to come by, and during the last 18 months there has been a global shortage of a key raw material called fluorspar that is used to make all Fluoropolymer materials. The ability to take lots of wear and tear and requiring low long term maintenance makes UHMW more cost effective.

7. The standard color of PTFE is Natural, which is a dense white. The UHMW comes in Natural (a deep milky white) or Black. The UHMW can be produced in many colors, and minimums are rather low. To obtain PTFE in colors is much more difficult, and would also have large minimum orders.

Click here for data sheet comparisons for each material…

UHMW Sheet and Rod Data

PTFE Sheet and Rod Data

Both the UHMW and the PTFE are available as sheet, sheets, sheeting, slab, bar, strip, panels, film, round rod, rods and block. Contact us for assistance with these or other shapes.

PTFE Sheeting Properties

  • Specific Gravity D792 2.14 – 2.24
  • Tensile Strength Yield D638 2,500 – 6,000UHMW Polyethylene Timing Roller
  • Tensile Modulus D638 80,000
  • Izod Impact – Notched D256 3.0
  • Hardness – Rockwell D785 D50 – D65
  • Deflection Temp @ 264psi D648 150
  • Deflection Temp @ 66 psi D648 250
  • Co. Thermal Expansion D696 5.5X10-5

UHMW Sheeting Properties

  • Specific Gravity D792 .93 – .94
  • Tensile Strength Yield D638 6,800
  • Coefficient of Friction – Static D1894 .25
  • Izod Impact – Notched D256 No Break
  • Hardness – Rockwell D785 R64
  • Vicat Softening Temp D1525 260
  • Deflection Temp @ 66 psi D648 174
  • Co. Thermal Expansion D696 11.0X10-5

These are just some examples of plastic materials being similar, and yet having very different properties. The PTFE Sheet and UHMW Sheet may appear very similar in color and can be used for some of the same applications, but when needed for a specific use or property needed, one might be dramatically better than the other. As the old saying goes, “You should never judge a book by its cover” and the same is true with plastic. Review the properties and test prior to choosing a final material for your application.

Call us for further assistance at 866-832-9315, or click here to contact us with your questions.

Additional Information About UHMW Sheets or Rod Here.

Additional Information About The Discovery Of PTFE Sheet and Rod by Dupont Here

Google+ Author – Hayden Hess


Topic: UHMW Sheet and PTFE Sheet – A Comparison

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25 Responses to “UHMW Sheet compared to PTFE Sheet (TFE sheets)”

    • Plasticman

      Great question Ron. The PTFE material has a coefficient of friction of 0.15 static, while the UHMW material rating is 0.25 static. There are special grades of UHMW that are available with slightly lower coefficient of friction if that will help. The other important factor is the hardness of these materials. The PTFE is rather soft in comparison, so if you are using this for a wear application, the UHMW stands up to heavier materials on a long term basis. Please send us an email, we are happy to assist.

      • Ron

        What I really am trying to do is make my own curling shoes, I want to take a pair of flat bottom athletic shoes, like a skateboard style shoe, and adhere one of these materials to the bottom of one of the shoes as a “slider”.
        I do not think wear is much of an issue, though some flexibility would be important. I believe the PTFE is most commonly used for curling shoes.
        If you have ANY suggestions at all, regarding type of material, or adhesive, I would love to hear them.

        • Ron

          And to be honest, I really do not know what the difference in the coefficient of friction between these two materials would mean to my proposed application.
          One question though, if I were to purchase either of these from you, can one side of the sheet be prepared in some way to better accept an adhesive?

          Thank you for your time.

        • Plasticman

          Ron, We have what you are looking for! First, do you have a thickness and size in mind? We do carry a UHMW type material called Duralene, and it is very slick, and has an adhesive on one side. We carry it in a few thicknesses, .005″ and .010″ and some others. Mostly we sell this in a 12″ wide roll stock. The adhesive is very strong, and it is flexible enough to go around slight curves. Will this work for you?

  1. Ron

    This captcha code is a PAIN.
    Most curling shoes use ptfe in thicknesses of about .090 to .250. Though thickness is not a factor in the performance of the shoe, it does increase the life of the shoe.
    Will the adhesive of the Duralene hold in temps below freezing? What is the cost? At his point I only need enough material to cover the soles of 2 to 3 shoes.

  2. weiquan

    I would like to know if UHMW will still retain its properties at an operating temperature of 55-70 degree celsius.

    • Plasticman

      Yes, UHMW will handle the temperatures you are looking for. UHMW has one of the widest continuous use temperature ranges of any plastic. Handles extreme cold, and temps up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit before it starts to soften. There are complete data sheets here for you to review.

  3. Mike

    Is there a UHMW film with adhesive backing 4 -7mil thickness range that is FDA approved. Looking to possibly using this type of material in refrigerator unit for slide purposes on rail area of storage compartment. Not in direct contact with food but still needs to have the FDA stamp on it. Please let me know. Thank you.

    • Plasticman

      Hi Mike,
      The short answer is that yes we have UHMW film with adhesive in the thickness you are looking for. The UHMW is FDA approved, but there is no stamp on any FDA approved plastic materials. We can provide a certification that the material is FDA approved, but there is not a way to mark the material. Let us know if that will work for you. Thanks.

  4. Joe Roy

    I’m not sure if this page is still active, but i have an important question. What do you think the risk factor of UHMW catching on fire is? I’m having a plastic cap made that will go over a steel insert on a large diesel hammer.

    • Jesse

      Hi Joe. If you want specifics on UHMW catching Fire risks you may want to contact your supplier and see if they can send you the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). This MSDS will be a specific document from the manufacturer that will address most risks specific to that material.

  5. Blair MacIsaac


    I am recovering the bottoms of a set of aircraft ski’s. I have only ever heard of teflon being used. Have you ever seen UHMW used in such an application? Thank you.

    • Plasticman

      Hi Blair,
      Yes, UHMW is rather common. The PTFE (referred by you as Teflon) is considered ‘soft’ in the plastic materials listings. For high temperatures or chemical applications the PTFE is ideal, but for simple slippery applications the UHMW is normally much better. Most of the snowboards sold have the bottom surface made from a UHMW sheet. Let us know the specifics, as UHMW can be supplied with an adhesive for easy application. We would need to know the thickness you want and the width and lengths you need. Thanks for asking, this is a great question!

  6. Blair MacIsaac

    Thank you for the very quick reply! Sending this from Ontario, Canada. Have a great Christmas!

  7. Roy

    I am selecting a material for a small pulleys sheave that runs directly on the shaft (synthetic rope). It will be 1/2″ wide x 3/4″ OD x 1/4″ID. Uplease to 100LB load per sheave.. Intermittent use and on 16ft of line pull. I am leaning toward UHMW. Light weight is also desired for this application. Thoughts? Thanks.

    • Jesse

      Hi Roy,

      I would agree that UHMW would probably be the best material for your application. UHMW-PE has outstanding abrasion resistance and extremely low coefficient of friction. So it meets your requirements.

  8. Warner Foster

    Looking to purchase some of your SKU # SS0 .030 X 12″ UHMW PS .
    My question concerns the adhesive. Is the adhesive referred to or considered as industrial strength?
    What is the required time to apply pressure? How many pounds of pressure is considered adequate?
    Thank You,

    • Plasticman

      Warner, The UHMW with adhesive is designed with a high strength adhesive. The only guidelines for installing are to make sure the surface you are covering with the UHMW sheeting be clean (may need to use alcohol) of oils and contaminates. A firm consistent pressure across the material should be enough. No specific pound of pressure is listed by any factory. We have applied with a rigid roller, and simply pushed down across the surface, and gone back and forth until it is uniformly applied. In the .030″ thickness, you will be able to see the material in contact with your substrate. Once applied, it should be considered a permanent installation, as it will be difficult to pull back off. Hope this helps, but if you have further questions, please ask.

      • Warner Foster

        Thank you very much, your reply was through and answered all my questions


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