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How to Surface Treat UHMW Polyethylene to Bond With Polyurethane

Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene is more commonly referred to as UHMW polyethylene. It is a more durable material than other forms of industrial plastic and has a low friction rating, which makes it very slippery. It is used in a variety of industries, including logging and railroad construction. Because of the slippery nature of the surface, it is resistant to chemicals such as adhesives. To bond UHMW polyethylene to polyurethane, you must prepare the surface.

  1. Lay the UHMW polyethylene on a flat work surface with the side that you want to bond facing upward.

  2. Sand the surface of the UHMW polyethylene lightly with a 100- to 120-grit sandpaper to rough up the surface. You do not need to remove much of the surface; just sand until a layer of light scratches appears.

  3. Wipe the UHMW polyethylene with a clean, dry cloth to remove all sanding dust from the surface.

  4. Apply a thin layer of an adhesion promoter solution to the area of the UHMW polyethylene that you want to bond. Adhesion promoters are available at home improvement stores and automotive supply stores. Allow the solution to sit and cure for the amount of time indicated on the product packaging.

  5. Apply a thin bead of any industrial strength glue to the UHMW polyethylene on top of where you applied the adhesion promoter. Do not extend the glue beyond where you applied the adhesion promoter or the glue will not stick.

  6. Place the piece of polyurethane on top of the UHMW polyethylene and press the two materials together to secure them. Place clamps around the edges of the objects to hold them firmly together while the glue dries.