What is polyethylene?

What is polyethylene?

What is polyethylene?

Polyethylene is one of the most popular thermoplastic materials, which is available in crystalline structure in heavy polyethylene HDPE, light polyethylene LDPE and linear light polyethylene LLDPE. This plastic product is produced by excess or radical polymerization and is used in a wide range of plastic containers, bottles, bags, plastic toys, etc.

Polyethylene is a type of polyolefin and is often abbreviated as PE. Polyethylene is light weight, durable and one of the most common plastics produced. The chemical formula of polyethylene is (C2H4)n

Molecular structure of polyethylene

How is polyethylene made?

Polyethylene is made from the polymerization of ethylene (or ethene) monomer. Also, polyethylene chains are produced through additive. Possible methods of synthesis are:

    Ziegler-Natta polymerization
    Metallocene catalysis

Depending on the density and branching of polyethylene, different grades can perform very differently. Therefore, polyethylene can be divided into the following categories:

Branch versions:

LDPE light polyethylene (low density)

LLDPE linear light polyethylene


HDPE heavy polyethylene (high density)

UHMWPE ultra high molecular weight polyethylene

PEX or XLPE cross-linked polyanilene

In addition to this, other types of polyethylene are also available:

MDPE medium density polyethylene

ULDPE ultra low density polyethylene

High molecular weight polyethylene HMWPE

Polyethylene metallocene MPE

Polyethylene Chlorine CPE

What is heavy polyethylene?

It is an economical thermoplastic that has a linear structure and is often unbranched or with a low degree of branching. Heavy polyethylene is flexible, semi-transparent and resistant to weather and weather. The chemical structure of heavy polyethylene HDPE is as follows:

Due to high crystallinity, heavy polyethylene is harder and less clear than light polyethylene and light linear polyethylene.

What is LDPE light polyethylene?

It is a semi-hard polymer with low crystallinity and consists of 4000 to 40000 carbon atoms with numerous short branches. Compared to heavy polyethylene, it has a higher degree of short and long side chain branching. The chemical structure of LDPE light polyethylene is as follows:

How is LDPE light polyethylene produced?

Light polyethylene is released at high pressure of 1000 to 3000 bar and temperature of 80 to 300 degrees Celsius through radical polymerization process. Two basic processes for the production of LDPE light polyethylene:

    Stirred autoclave reactor
    Tubular reactor

Due to the conversion of ethylene, the tubular reactor is higher than the autoclave reactor.

What are the properties of light polyethylene?

Melting point 105 to 115 degrees Celsius
    Density 0.910-940 g/cm3
    High resistance to alcohols, dilute alkalis and acids
    Limited resistance to aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, mineral oils, oxidizing agents and halogenated hydrocarbons.
    Temperature resistance up to 80°C continuously and 95°C for shorter times.
    Low price with good processing capability
    High impact strength in low temperature and good weather
    Electrical insulation
    Transparent in the form of a thin layer

What is linear light polyethylene LLDPE?

The structure of linear light polyethylene has a linear backbone with short and uniform branches unlike the branches of light polyethylene. The short branches of linear light polyethylene slide over each other without twisting into each other like light polyethylene branches and are structurally similar to light polyethylene.

How is linear light polyethylene LLDPE produced?

  Linear light polyethylene is produced from the polymerization of ethylene or ethane monomer with 1-butene and smaller amounts of 1-hexene and 1-octene. This process is carried out using Ziegler-Natta or metallocene catalysts. In today's scenario, linear light polyethylene has become a successful alternative to light polyethylene due to the following features.

What are the properties of linear light polyethylene LLDPE?

    Very flexible with high resistance
    Clear and natural milk color
    High chemical resistance
    Good impact resistance and stress cracking

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