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Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Market Size, Share & Covid-19 Impact Analysis, By Form (Sheets & Films, Rods & Tubes, Fibers, Tapes, and Others), By End-Use (Automotive, Aerospace & Defense, Medical, Chemical, Electronics, and Others) and Regional Forecast, 2020-2027

Last Updated: May 27, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI102953



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The global ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene market size was USD 1,691.2 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 3,319.0 million by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 10.1% during the forecast period. North America dominated the global market with a share of 38.23% in 2019.

Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) is a semi-crystalline polymer that offers high resistance to wear, abrasion, corrosion, concentrated acids, and alkalis. It has superior impact strength amongst all the thermoplastics and is non-sticking and self-lubricating. The material’s versatile properties, such as low friction, durability, and chemical resistance, enable its usage in several industrial applications. Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene is observing rising demand from aerospace & defense and automotive industries for its advanced properties compared to other polymers. Additionally, the increasing preference for polymer-based implants in multiple medical surgeries is expected to boost the market growth.

Closure of Manufacturing Activities to Reduce UHMWPE’s Demand

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the UHMWPE market negatively as the lockdowns imposed by governments led to the closure of manufacturing activities and created disruptions in the supply chain of the product. The lack of raw materials and workforce hampered the production units of manufacturers from electronics and mechanical industries. Additionally, lockdown in major regions including North America and Europe due to the pandemic has led to the decline in the product demand from aircraft and automotive manufacturers. The pandemic resulted in medical surgeries for joint replacement as many surgeries were postponed. This reduced the usage of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene for medical applications across the globe.


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Increasing Demand for Medical Implants to Provide Growth Opportunities

Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene is increasingly used in the medical industry owing to its high biocompatibility, wear-resistance, and ductility. Various research activities have been conducted to develop UHMWPE with improvised tribological and mechanical performance, thereby providing durable implants for patients. Several companies have introduced medical-grade products for use in biomedical implants. For instance, DSM provides medical grade ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fiber named Dyneema Purity fiber that meets ASTM and ISO standards. This fiber is 15 times stronger than steel.

Additionally, technological advancements have led to the development of better prosthetics with a longer lifespan that offers more comfort to patients. Moreover, medical surgeries for joint replacement in hips and knees have observed an uptrend in recent years. The increasing geriatric population in countries including the U.S., Germany, and Japan, is expected to drive the demand during the forecast period. Polyethylene with ultra-high molecular weight is one of the most preferred polymers for use in the production of medical implants.


Rising Demand from Aerospace & Defense and Automotive Industries to Drive Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Market Growth

Increasing investments and initiatives from governments of various countries across the globe to provide their military with superior protective gear are expected to drive the market over the forecast period. Protective gears, such as ballistic protection products including shields and plate inserts, bulletproof vests, combat helmets, and protective armor, are essential to support the movement of soldiers. Government programs, such as the Soldier Protection System, will boost the product demand from the aerospace & defense industry.

Additionally, UHMWPE is a stronger and safer material to replace steel in wire ropes that are used in the aerospace & defense industry. In the automobile industry, ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene is used in supportive belts, car seat parts, and truck shock spacers owing to its self-lubricating and vibration reduction properties. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Limited, the new car and commercial-vehicle sales are expected to rise by 15% and 16% in 2021, respectively. Hence, the rapidly growing automotive industry is expected to drive the market during the forecast period.


Surging Cost of Ultra-high Molecular Weight Polyethylene to Hinder Growth

UHMWPE is an advanced polymer having superior properties compared to conventional metals and polymers such as steel, polypropylene, and polyethylene. These properties include higher impact strength, low friction coefficient, remarkable energy absorption capacity, and wear and abrasion resistance. However, these advantageous properties increase the cost of UHMWPE and are expected to hamper its growth in the upcoming years. Also, the occurrence of COVID-19 has undesirably reduced the demand for the product from several industries due to restrictions in supply and transportation activities and delayed industrial productivity.


By Form Analysis

Sheets & Films Segment Accounted for Largest Market Share in 2019

Based on the form, the market is segmented into sheets & films, rods & tubes, fibers, tapes, and others. The sheets & films segment held the largest market share in 2019. This is attributed to the extensive adoption of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene as sheets & films in bunkers, dump trucks, truck loading platforms, chutes, lining silos, and rail wagons. The durable properties of this material, such as resistance to abrasion, heat, and chemicals, are anticipated to drive the market growth.

The rising consumption of UHMWPE in the form of fibers for the manufacturing of medical products, electric batteries, electronic components, and defense products is expected to drive the market during the forecast period. The increasing preference for rods made of polyethylene having ultra-high molecular weight in vehicles and heavy industrial applications will provide growth opportunities for the market during the forecast period. In addition, the ability of the material to ease the movement of conveying systems will surge the demand from tape form.

By End-use Industry Analysis

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Medical Industry to Register Fastest Growth during the Forecast Period

In terms of the end-use industry, the market is segmented into automotive, aerospace & defense, medical, chemical, electronics, and others. The medical industry accounted for the largest share in 2019 and is estimated to register the fastest growth during the forecast period. In the medical industry, UHMWPE is used primarily for the fabrication of cardiovascular and orthopedic implants owing to its properties such as biocompatibility, biological stability, wear resistance, high creep resistance, and low friction. Increasing healthcare investments, advancement in medical technologies, and rising aging population are the factors leading to the product demand in the medical industry.

In the automotive industry, this product is majorly used in the manufacturing of batteries, seals, valves, and linings. The rising demand for lightweight, noise-reducing, and impact-absorbing materials from the automotive industry will surge the product demand during the forecast period. The increasing demand for ballistic protection products, frag knits, explosion-resistant blankets, and defense products is anticipated to drive the demand in the aerospace & defense industry. Efficient use of the product infiltration activities, conveying systems, chemical tanks, and lining hoppers and chutes to protect metal surfaces will drive the product consumption in the chemical industry.


North America Ultra-high Molecular Weight Polyethylene Market Size, 2019 (USD Million)

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The market size in North America stood at USD 646.6 million in 2019. The region accounted for the largest share and is expected to retain its position throughout the forecast period owing to the growing automotive, medical, and electronics industries in the region. The U.S. is estimated to remain the largest consumer in the region due to the high adoption of electric vehicles in the country.  According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, EV sales increased by 67%, between 2017 and 2019. The increasing sales of electric vehicles (EVs) led to the demand for lithium-ion batteries, which depend on ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene for their functioning.  

The market in Europe is characterized by the increasing demand for impact-resistant sheets & films and fibers from aerospace & defense, medical, and automotive industries in the region. Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene is preferred in various applications, such as ballistic protection products, guide rails, conveying systems, and linings for rail wagons and trucks, in the region.  Asia Pacific is expected to register the highest growth during the forecast timeline owing to the rising government initiatives and investments in the development of medical, and aerospace & defense industries. Additionally, the growing chemical and electronics industries in China and India will support the market growth in the region.

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The use of polyethylene with ultra-high molecular weight in automotive and defense industries owing to its properties, such as impact resistance, and corrosion inhibition, will boost the market growth in the Middle East & Africa. The market growth in Latin America is associated with the rising demand for fibers, sheets & films, and tapes from the electronics and automotive industries. 


Serving Numerous Industries to Increase the Presence of Key Players in the Market

Key companies in the UHMWPE market have their presence mainly in the U.S. and some countries of Europe. They have extended their manufacturing facilities in China and other Asian countries due to the high product demand from widespread industries in these countries. These players are involved in research & development activities for developing customized products for specific applications. They are implementing expansion and new product development strategies to increase their presence in the market and efficiently serve their customers from different end-use industries.


  • Celanese Corporation (US)

  • LyondellBasell Industries N.V. (Netherlands)

  • Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corporation (Saudi Arabia)

  • Asahi Kasei Corporation (Japan)

  • DSM (Netherlands)

  • Braskem (Brazil)

  • DuPont (US)

  • Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (Japan)

  • Honeywell International, Inc. (US)

  • Teijin Limited (Japan)

  • Other Players


  • In March 2021 Celanese Corporation officially announced to expand its GUR ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene production capacity to approximately 34 KT in Europe. This new expansion will boost the growth of the company in GUR engineered materials portfolio. Additionally, through this expansion the company will be able to meet the rising demand for Lithium Ion Battery Separators in the electric vehicle market.

  • In October 2020 – SABIC and Schwarz Group launched the use of transparent film bags made from certified circular polyethylene in vegetable packaging. This project will make the use of PE technologies of the company’s TRUCIRCLE which consists of certified circular polymers including high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density and linear low-density polyethylene along with SUPEER metallocene polyethylene resins.


An Infographic Representation of Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) Market

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The market research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, competitive landscape, product forms, and end-use industries of the product. Besides this, the report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the advanced market over recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Volume (Kilotons); Value (USD Million)


  By Form; By End-use Industry; and By Geography

By Form

  • Sheets & Films

  • Rods & Tubes

  • Fibers

  • Tapes

  • Others

By End-use Industry


  • Automotive

  • Aerospace & Defense

  • Medical

  • Chemical

  • Electronics

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America (Form, End-use Industry)

    • By Country

      • U.S. (By End-use Industry)

      • Canada (By End-use Industry)

      • Mexico (By End-use Industry)

  • Europe (Form, End-use Industry)

    • By Country

      • Germany (By End-use Industry)

      • France (By End-use Industry)

      • UK (By End-use Industry)

      • Italy (By End-use Industry)

      • Rest of Europe (By End-use Industry)

  • Asia Pacific (Form, End-use Industry)

    • By Country

      • China (By End-use Industry)

      • Japan (By End-use Industry

      • India (By End-use Industry)

      • Southeast Asia (By End-use Industry)

      • Rest of Asia Pacific (By End-use Industry)

  • South America (Form, End-use Industry)

    • By Country

      • Brazil (By End-use Industry)

      • Argentina (By End-use Industry)

      • Rest of South America (By End-use Industry)

  • Middle East & Africa (Form, End-use Industry)

    • By Country

      • Saudi Arabia (By End-use Industry)

      • South Africa (By End-use Industry)

      • Rest of Middle East & Africa (By End-use Industry)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 1,691.2 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 3,319.0 million by 2027.

In 2019, the North America market value stood at USD 646.6 million.

Registering a CAGR of 10.1%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2020-2027).

The sheets & films segment is expected to lead this market during the forecast period.

The rising demand from the aerospace & defense and automotive industry is a major factor driving the growth of the market.

Celanese Corporation and LyondellBasell Industries N.V. are the major players in the global market.

North America held the highest share in the market in 2019.

The growing demand for medical implants along with the rising electronics industry is expected to drive product adoption.

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