UL Prospector™

Polyethylene (PE)

Polyethylene (PE) - The term polyethylene describes a huge family of resins obtained by polymerizing ethylene gas, H2C=CH2, and it is by far the largest volume commercial polymer. This thermoplastic is available in a range of flexibilities and other properties depending on the production process, with high density materials being the most rigid. Polyethylene can be formed by a wide variety of thermoplastic processing methods and is particularly useful where moisture resistance and low cost are required. Low density polyethylene typically has a density value ranging from 0.91 to 0.925 g/cm³, linear low density polyethylene is in the range of 0.918 to 0.94 g/cm³, while high density polyethylene ranges from 0.935 to 0.96 g/cm³ and above.

After its experimental preparation in the 1930s the application in high frequency radar cables during World War II gave impetus to its commercial production. Today Polyethylene (PE) is one of the most widely used plastics with production in the billions of pounds each year.


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  • High thermal expansion
  • Poor weathering resistance
  • Subject to stress cracking
  • Difficult to bond
  • Flammable
  • Poor temperature capability
  • Low strength/stiffness