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Polyethylene (PE) Plastics Properties

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PE-Sheet-Rod, Green

(1) General performance
PE resin is an odorless, non-toxic white powder or granule, milky white in appearance, with a wax-like feel, and low water absorption which is less than 0.01%. The film of PE is transparent, but the transparency decreases with the increase of crystallinity. PE film has low water permeability, but high air permeability, which is not suitable for fresh-keeping packaging, but suitable for moisture-proof packaging. PE is flammable, with an oxygen index of only 17.4%, low smoke when burning, with small amount of molten droplets, yellow on the flame and blue at the bottom, with paraffin odor. PE has good water resistance. The surface of PE products is non-polar, difficult to bond or print, it can be improved after surface treatment.

(2) Mechanical properties
The mechanical properties of PE are general, the tensile strength is low, the creep resistance is not good, but the impact resistance is good. For the comparison of the three PEs, the impact strength is LDPE>LLDPE>HDPE, and the other mechanical properties are LDPE<LLDPE<HDPE. The mechanical properties of PE are greatly affected by relative density, crystallinity and molecular weight. With the improvement of these indicators, its mechanical properties increase. The environmental stress cracking resistance of PE is not good, but it improves as the molecular weight increases. PE has good puncture resistance, and LLDPE is the best.

(3) Thermal properties

The heat resistance of PE is not high, but it improves with the increasing molecular weight and crystallinity. PE has good low temperature resistance, and the embrittlement temperature can generally reach below -50 °C; with the increase of molecular weight, the minimum embrittlement temperature can reach -140 °C. The linear expansion coefficient of PE is large, up to (20~24) X10-5K-1, which is the largest in plastics. The size order of different varieties of PE is LDPE>LLDPE>HDPE. The thermal conductivity of PE is the higher than the other plastics, and the size order of different PEs is HDPE>LLDPE>LDPE.

(4) Electrical properties

PE is non-polar, so its electrical properties are very good. It has low dielectric losses and minimal changes with temperature and humidity. It can be used for high frequency insulation. PE is one of the few plastics with good corona resistance and high dielectric strength, so it can be used as a high-voltage insulating cable material.

(5) Environmental performance
PE is an alkane inert polymer with good chemical stability. PE is resistant to corrosion by acid, alkali and saline solution at room temperature, such as dilute sulfuric acid, dilute nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, phosphoric acid, formic acid and acetic acid of any concentration, but it is not resistant to strong oxidants such as oleum, concentrated Sulfuric acid and chromic acid, etc. PE is insoluble in common solvents below 60 °C, but it will swell or crack in long-term contact with aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, halogenated hydrocarbons, etc. PE is soluble in toluene, amyl acetate, trichloroethylene, turpentine, mineral oil and paraffin in a small amount when the temperature exceeds 60 °C; PE is soluble in tetralin when the temperature exceeds 100 °C.

As PE molecule contains a small amount of double bonds and ether groups, so its weather resistance is not good, sunlight and rain both cause aging. It can be improved by adding antioxidants and light stabilizers. The specific properties of PE are listed in the table below.

LDPE, LLDPE, HDPE -specific performance
Relative Density0.91~0.930.92~0.9250.92~0.97
water absorption / %<0.01<0.01<0.01

molding shrinkage / %


tensile strength / MPa7~1515~2521~37
elongation at break / %>650>880>500
bending strength / MPa3411
compression strength / MPa2810
notch impact strength /( kJ/m280~90>7040~70
Rockwell hardnessR45R70
heat deflection temperature(1.86MPa) / ℃507578
brittle temperature / ℃-80~-55<-120<-140~-120
coefficient of linear expansion/(×10-5K-120~2412~13
thermal conductivity / [w /(m·K)]0.350.44
volume resistivity / Ω·cm



dielectric constant (


Dielectric loss Angle tangent value(


dielectric strength / (KV/ mm)>20>20
Arc Resistance / s115115
oxygen index / %2020


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