Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) Market Size & Report

Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) Market Size & Analysis Report By Application (Medical Grade & Prosthetics, Filtration, Batteries, Fibers, Additives, Membranes), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2012 - 2022

  • Published Date: Feb, 2018
  • Base Year for Estimate: 2016
  • Report ID: 978-1-68038-506-9
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Data: 2012 - 2015
  • Number of Pages: 127

Industry Insights

The global ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene market size was estimated at USD 1.33 billion in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 11.4% during the forecast period. UHMWPE is widely used for joint replacement surgery in the medical industry, which forms one of the key end-use sectors for the plastic sector. Growing geriatric population in Europe, Japan and the U.S. has prompted the need for orthopedics in these regions.

U.S. UHMWPE market

Favorable properties over conventional polymers for numerous application in industries such as automotive, healthcare, and ship building have contributed towards its significant demand in the recent past. These properties include high abrasion resistance, superior impact strength, low reactivity to chemicals & additives, higher flexibility and low friction coefficient. These properties are anticipated to drive the UHMWPE growth.

UHMWPE is being increasingly accepted across the defense industry for personal protective equipment and anti-ballistic applications. Several government initiatives are encouraging UHMWPE usage over other polymers for such applications. Ongoing military R&D investments by the U.S. to improve the performance of helmets and body armor is expected to steer product demand over the next few years.

Favorable regulations across the globe along with growing innovations has resulted in enhancement in its mechanical properties and high-energy absorption value for UHMWPE. As a result, it is commonly used in bulletproof vests, impact plate, and helmet production are also anticipated to have positive impact on the market.

Joint replacement surgeries for knees and hips have witnessed rapid uptrend over the last five years. A shift in trend wherein people aged at 45-60 years are increasingly opting for joint replacement surgeries has been observed in the recent past. Technological advancements have resulted in better prosthetics, longer lifespan and more comfort for the patients. Increasing geriatric population in several countries such as the U.S., Canada and Japan, is expected to drive the demand for medical UHMWPE over the long term.

Owing to its significant resilience against wear & tear coupled with its ability to be blended with additives to offer hydrophilic and flame resilient characteristics has steered UHMWPE demand in applications such as wear strips, chain guides, bin liners, and pulleys. Its inherent hydrophobic characteristic has enabled its demand in sectors requiring ease of flow while handling wet products.

UHMWPE is characterized with improved fiber structure and hence finds applications in heavy duty industries for producing pulleys and truck liners. Moreover, growing innovations has resulted in enhancement in its mechanical properties and high-energy absorption value for UHMWPE. As a result, it is commonly used in bulletproof vests, impact plate, and helmet production.

Application Insights

Medical grade & prosthetics dominated the application segment of UHMWPE and is expected to reach 121 kilo tons in 2022. Earlier orthopedic surgeries were prescribed to patients above 60 years of age owing to the fact that the joint replacements had a life of about 15-20 years. However, owing to the technological innovations, joint replacements have a higher life span and are being increasingly adopted by the younger generation.

UHMWPE fibers find applications in several end-use industries such as defense, sports equipment, construction and healthcare. Increasing construction spending, participation in sports and growing healthcare industry is expected to drive the overall consumption in the near future.

Over the recent years, industry participants have taken ardent steps to process UHMWPE and improve its properties. Cross-linked polymers with additives such as Vitamin E as antioxidants have begun to be widely accepted as prosthetics for hip replacements. Hip and knee replacement surgeries have seen a rapid rise, especially among the comparatively younger generation aged 40–55, over the past few years.

Fibers find wide application across multiple industries such as sailcloth, sling braid and defense. Several government initiatives to provide better personal protective equipment and anti-ballistic gear to its military and law enforcement personnel are presumed to drive the UHMWPE market.

UHMWPE as a durable polymer is ideally used as a uniform porous medium in both general and fluid based environments. Reliability and favorable regulations is expected to benefit the UHMWPE market demand in filtration industry. Higher product prices make it affordable mostly in developed regions.

Regional Insights

North America UHMWPE market dominated the global industry in the recent past and is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 10% over the next few years. Growing geriatric population coupled with increase in joint replacement cases has also played a vital role in driving the U.S.

Global UHMWPE market

There are large number of automotive manufacturing facilities across the U.S. and Canada resulting in an increase in demand for battery separators and is expected to have positive impact on the overall market. Ongoing investments in battery manufacturing facilities in North America and Asia Pacific is expected to steer UHMWPE demand over the long term.

Most countries in the European Union have reported an increase in hip and knee replacement surgeries, which in turn is expected to assist the UHMWPE market over the next seven years. Overall, medical grade & prosthetics market is estimated to witness highest growth over the forecast period followed by batteries market.

Presence of the major end-use industries and their significant growth in Asia Pacific is expected to have positive impact on UHMWPE market growth over the long term. Automotive manufacturing hub in China, Japan and South Korea is expected to drive the industrial output in the region over the next few years. Reported increase in healthcare spending coupled with growing disposable income in various countries of the region is estimated to benefit the medical sector in the region.

Ultra-high Molecular Weight Polyethylene Market Share Insights

Braskem, Celanese Corporation and Lyondell Basell dominated the global UHMWPE market, accounting for over 75% of the total market share in 2014. Frequent acquisitions were witnessed over the past five years. These strategies are expected to improve industry competitiveness and increase production capacity to cater the rapidly growing demand in Asia Pacific and North America.

Companies are investing heavily in R&D to develop premium products such as longer lasting prosthetics and lightweight personal protective equipment. Such initiatives offer ample prospects for the existing as well as new market players to invest in R&D and enhance their product portfolio.

In 2014, Celanese Corporation acquired Cool Polymers as well as invested in a technological & commercial center in Mexico in order to strengthen its presence in Latin America. While Braskem announced its plan to build an UHMWPE plant in Texas to increase its production capacity and complement its current production in Brazil.

Report Scope 



Base year for estimation


Actual estimates/Historical data

2012 - 2015

Forecast period

2017 - 2022

Market representation

Volume in Kilo Tons, Revenue in USD Million & CAGR from 2016 to 2022

Regional scope

North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central & South America, Middle East & Africa

Country scope

U.S., Germany, UK, Italy, China, Japan, India

Report coverage              

Volume forecast, Revenue forecast, company share, competitive landscape, growth factors and trends

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Segments covered in the report

This report forecasts volume and revenue growth at global, regional & country levels and provides an analysis of the industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2012 to 2022. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene market report on the basis of application and region:

  • Application Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million; 2012 - 2022)

    • Medical Grade & Prosthetics

    • Filtration

    • Batteries

    • Fibers

    • Additives

    • Membranes

    • Others

  • Regional Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million; 2012 - 2022)

    • North America

      • U.S.

    • Europe

      • Germany

      • Italy

    • Asia Pacific

      • China

      • India

      • Japan

    • Central & South America (CSA)

      • Brazil

    • Middle East & Africa (MEA)

      • Saudi Arabia

Key questions answered by the report
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