Extruded polyethylene sheet from Impact Plastics offers our customers a high efficiency product ideal for critical applications in the food and medical markets.
Polyethylene (PE) is created from the polymerization of ethylene which produces very long, straight chains of hydrocarbon monomers. By adjusting the polymerization process, these chains can be made to branch, and the degree of branching determines the grade of PE that is produced. There are two main grades of PE available from Impact Plastics – High Density Polyethylene and Low Density Polyethylene.
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
High Density Polyethylene is exactly what it sounds like – it is a grade of polyethylene that carries with it a higher density. With HDPE, there is minimal branching of the polymer chain, which means that the molecules are packed tightly together during crystallization leading to increased density and rigidity. HDPE is one of the most versatile plastics and has may different uses spanning across various industries – from food packaging, to medical packaging, to construction.
The typical consumer most likely handles an HDPE bottle or container on a daily basis. This material also comes in many forms, such as Tyvek, which, when paired with rigid HDPE, creates a single recycling stream for the package. In addition, Impact Plastics also carries several grades of USP Class VI certified HDPE resins for medical device applications.
HDPE is ideal for applications that require excellent impact resistance, high tensile strength, excellent moisture barrier properties and chemical resistance – however this material is not suitable for applications that require an oxygen or CO2 barrier.
Low Density Polyethylene
Low Density Polyethylene is a form of polyethylene that contains many branches of high molecular weight with a less compact molecular structure, resulting in a lower density than it’s counterpart HDPE. In comparison to HDPE, LDPE is characterized by having better flexibility and better impact toughness. While this material has high ductility, it has a low tensile strength and therefor has a tendency to stretch. LDPE is commonly used in film applications such as plastic bags, but it can also be used in applications such as bottles, tubing, food storage containers and trays.
With continued advancements in technology, both on the resin production side and the extrusion side, traditional differences in the primary grades of PE resin have blurred and new specialty grades continue to emerge. Impact Plastics recommends testing of the material for every new application and custom tailors PE formulations to meet the customers ultimate goals for their project. Specialty and custom grades of polyethylene are available upon request.
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