HDPE Sheet or to give it its complete name, High Density Polyethylene Sheet, is a very versatile engineering plastic which has been labelled "chopping board material" which is self explanatory because it’s become famous in huge food producing factories, right down to domestic kitchen environments as an excellent board for chopping food on. HDPE Sheet tends to be kind to knife blades and HDPE will probably keep your knife sharper for longer and because HDPE is classed as food safe it becomes the plastic of choice.
Without getting to technical, HDPE Sheet generally has two grades. HDPE 300 and HDPE 500, the number dictates the density of the plastic and 500 grade is the more dense and slightly harder grade but also slightly more expensive.
300 grade HDPE Sheet usually comes with a gloss slide and a matt side but as with all engineering plastics HDPE Sheet doesn't have any protective coating on it, so its not possible to guarantee a totally scratch free surface. This is generally why these semi-finished engineering plastics are more suited to industrial or engineering applications.
HDPE Sheet has an almost waxy feel to it and is pretty good at being a low friction wear strip material and is used probably more than any other plastic as a wear strip on conveyors or production lines of huge companies. HDPE Sheet when converted into strips and fixed to a conveyor as a guard rail where millions of items will pass on a never ending production line is where HDPE sheet excels. In this environment, its low friction and outstanding wear resistance really excels. One thing to note at this point is that it’s very difficult to bond effectively to anything, which means that HDPE Sheet will need to be physically or mechanically fixed in place using screws etc.
HDPE Sheet can be machined quite nicely on CNC or traditional machines using TCT cutting tools and will provide a nice smooth surface.
HDPE Sheet would probably not be suitable in areas or environments where impact resistance is required from very heavy objects. HDPE is slightly softer than some other engineering plastics such as Nylon or Acetal. It is possible to cause a mark in HDPE Sheet if you has strong nails and were to press hard into the sheet. This can be an advantage as HDPE Sheet will cause no damage to cans in say a canning factory.
So, if you’re looking for an engineering plastic that is economical, abrasion resistant and low friction, HDPE Sheet is a good choice. If you need high load or impact resistance or a plastic that will bond easily, Nylon Sheet may be worth looking into.'
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