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The strain energy and stress concentrations in filled polyethylene are analyzed and the effect of fillers on the ultimate tensile strength of these composites is discussed. It is shown that the usual two‐phase model is inadequate to describe filler‐polyethylene composites when the filler has a high surface energy. Since a high surface energy substrate is known to generate a transcrystalline region, at the polymer matrix‐filler interface, which differs mechanically from the bulk polymer, a three‐phase model is proposed and analyzed. The agreement between theory and experiment lends credence to the three‐phase model.