UHMWPE is polyethylene with a molecular weight numbering in the millions, usually between 3.1 and 5.67 million. The high molecular weight results in less efficient packing of the chains into the crystal structure as evidenced by densities less than high density polyethylene (e.g. 0.935 - 0.930). The high molecular weight results in a very tough material. UHMWPE can be made through any catalyst technology, although Ziegler catalysts are most common. UHMWPE is used in high modulus fibers and in bulletproof vests.
Polyethylene or polyethene is a thermoplastic commodity heavily used in consumer products (over 60M tons are produced worldwide every year). Its name originates from the monomer ethene, also known as ethylene, used to create the polymer. Polyethylene stock shapes are classified into three different categories based mostly on its density and branching. The mechanical properties of PE depend significantly on variables such as the extent and type of branching, the crystal structure, and the molecular weight.