High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is a globally popular thermoplastic made from petroleum. It is widely used in its rigid and flexible forms in both household and industrial products.
What Makes High-Density Polyethylene Plastics So Popular?
- HDPE offers good moisture and vapour barrier qualities, making it ideal for storage and transportation of liquids.
- The high calorific value it possesses provides efficient recovery of energy after clean incineration.
- It has a high strength-to-density ratio. Minimal branching results in stronger intermolecular forces and higher tensile strength when compared to other plastics.
- High-Density Polyethylene Plastics are chemically inert, i.e., they have a very high energy barrier for reaction with other chemicals.
- HDPE cannot withstand autoclaving conditions.
- It is more opaque and stronger in comparison to Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE).
- It is resistant to impacts, weather and is long lasting.
- HDPE is highly malleable.
- High-Density Polyethylene resin has more crystalline areas than the LDPE resin. The size and coverage of crystalline regions determine the environmental stress resistance and tensile strength of the final substance.
Uses of HDPE
- High-Density Polyethylene Plastics are light in weight but super strong. Hence, these are used in making fuel tanks for cars that help increase energy efficiency. This property also makes it ideal for the manufacture of plastic bottles that can carry objects or liquids heavier than the bottle itself.
- HDPE, being impact resistant, can be used for making long lasting toys and furniture.
- Weather resistance is a significant property that makes it an ideal choice for the manufacture of garden furniture that is robust and cost-effective.
- High-Density Polyethylene Plastics resist rotting, mould, and insects. These are hence used in the making of underground pipes that distribute water, and in public sanitation lines.
- Malleability enables it to be used in a wide range of industries producing strong, durable plastic ware.
- Since it is resistant to various solvents, it is the prime choice for making chemical drums, jerry cans, kitchenware, cable insulation, bottle caps and food wrappers.
- It is used for lining the cells in sanitary landfills, where it is welded to form a homogeneous barrier that resists chemicals. This is an ideal method to prevent pollution of groundwater from liquids that seep out from sanitary waste.
- In a malfunction, HDPE products tend to tear rather than shatter into dangerous shrapnel. Hence, it is preferred over steel or other plastics in the pyrotechnics industry, as it is safer and more durable.
- Heavy duty products like swimming pool installations, ballistic plates, and plastic surgery implantations are made using HDPE.
Recycling of HDPE Plastics
Usually, HDPE products have a logo imprinted at the bottom, with the number 2 surrounded by chasing arrows. This is known as the resin identification code (RIC) of High-Density Polyethylene. This code was designed to assist in the sorting of products based on their plastic resins for recycling purposes.
HDPE can be recycled to produce versatile objects, some of which are listed below,
- Recycled plastic storage products
- Recycled plastic furniture
- Recycled plastic playground objects
- Recycled plastic parts of automobiles
- Recycled plastic compost cans and trash bins
In recent years, High-Density Polyethylene has largely benefitted from the discussions of possible health hazards caused by PVC and Polycarbonate. These materials contain Bisphenol A, which is a noted substance of very high concern (SVHC) in the European Union.
High-Density Polyethylene Plastics also have major advantages over metal, glass, and cardboard products. This has made these the most popular choice for a wide variety of applications.
Primary Keyword – High-Density Polyethylene Plastics
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