High-density polyethylene or HDPE is a commonly used petroleum thermoplastic and the most used of the three polyethylenes for a wide range of applications. If you look at this plastic under a microscope, you would see that it has a linear structure with few branches lending to its optimal strength/density ratio. As a result of its molecular makeup, this polymer shines brightest in applications where moisture resistance and cost-effectiveness are needed.
HDPE was created in the 1930s and used in high-frequency radar cables during World War II. It was introduced to the market commercially soon after. While its higher density versions yield a more rigid result, HDPE can vary in flexibility. Low-density grades of the thermoplastic are less stiff and the high-density grades have equally high crystallinity.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of HDPE
Even with its popularity, there are some advantages and disadvantages you should consider before using HDPE for your application:
- Can withstand temperatures from -148 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit
- Dishwasher safe
- Resistant to most chemical solvents
- Stiff material
- Poor weathering resistance
- Sensitive to stress cracking
- Difficult to bond
4 Common Uses for HDPE
- Plastic bottles: Most people are informally introduced to the durable plastic through water bottles. HDPE is great for blow-molding applications, particularly food and beverage containers because it won’t leach into the bottles’ contents. In addition, HDPE is recyclable which makes it a great choice for these highly disposable products.
- Toys: HDPE is UV resistant which helps keep the toys resistant to the ray’s damaging and discoloring effects.
- Chemical containers: With its chemical resistant properties, HDPE is great for laundry, shampoo, conditioner, household cleaning products, motor oil, antifreeze and recycling bins. The strength of these bottles is increased when they’ve been colored or pigmented.
- Pipe systems: HDPE pipe grade sheet has a higher molecular weight compared to the standard HDPE used in the above examples. This strengthening with its UV-resistance makes it ideal for piping and outdoor applications. Pipe grade sheet has the ability to withstand -220 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s durable in most chemical interactions which make it useful in a lot of industrial applications.
AC Plastics has HDPE industrial sheets including pipe grade, smooth sheet, and matte sheet to suit a wide range of applications. No matter how large or small your order is, we can fulfill your order. Order today, or call us to speak to one of our specialists.