High Density Polyethylene

HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) is a low-cost thermoplastic with a linear structure and little or minimal branching. It’s made at low temperatures (70-300°C) and pressures (10-80 bar) and comes from two sources: natural gas modification (a methane, ethane, propane mix) or catalytic cracking of crude oil into gas. 

How is HDPE produced?

Slurry polymerization or gas phase polymerization are used to make the majority of HDPE products. The process begins with the polymerization of ethylene monomers in a solution, followed by separation and drying.

What are the key features of HDPE?

HDPE is an ideal material for a variety of applications in a variety of industries due to its excellent combination of properties. It can be customised to meet the needs of the end user.

  • HDPE Melting point: 120-140°C
  • Density of HDPE: 0.93 to 0.97 g/cm3
  • High Density Polyethylene Chemical resistance:
  • Excellent resistance to most solvents
  • Very good resistance to alcohols, dilute acids and alkalis
  • Moderate resistance to oils and greases
  • Poor resistance to hydrocarbons (aliphatic, aromatic, halogenated)
  • Continuous temperature: -50°C to +60°C, Relatively stiff material with useful temperature capabilities
  • Higher tensile strength compared to other forms of polyethylene
  • Low cost polymer with good processability
  • Good low temperature resistance
  • Excellent electrical insulating properties
  • Very low water absorption
  • FDA compliant

PE High Density applications

  • HDPE filament for 3D printers
  • Strong packaging materials: bottle caps, plastic milk bottles, drums, bulk containers for industrial use
  • Fibres for ropes, nets, and industrial fabrics
  • Vehicle fuel tanks
  • Boat parts
  • HDPE pipes and tubing
  • HDPE plastic chairs and tables
  • Playground structures: slides, swing seats
  • Consumer products: trash and recycling bins, ice cube containers, toys, ice chests

How are HDPE and LDPE materials processed?

The following methods can be used to process thermoplastic material for consumer or industrial use after it has been manufactured:

Injection moulding

This quick process turns LDPE and HDPE pellets or granules into the custom shapes and sizes the mould specifies. The thermoplastic pellets are fed into a hot barrel, where they are melted with the aid of a screw barrel and heater bands. The molten plastic is then injected into a pre-formed mould cavity, which cools the material as well. After solidifying, the plastic material is ejected out of the moulding machine.

Extrusion

Heat is used to melt the plastic granules in a similar way to injection moulding. The difference is in the machine's final portion, where the melted plastic is forced through a pre-designed opening and then cooled to solidify.

Blow moulding

This method of processing is commonly used to create hollow-shaped plastic products. Instead of injecting molten plastic into the mould, compressed air is used to blast it into place.

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