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Polyethylene (PE) - Complete Guide

Advanced Guide for A to Z Information on PEFrom plastic containers, bottles, bags to plastic toys; everywhere we look, we see most of the plastic items made of polyethylene! It is one of the most popular thermoplastic materials available today.... But, what is polyethylene? What it is made up of? How to process PE?

Get technical information on polyethylene, explore what are its different types (HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE...) and the properties of some the majorly used forms in detail! Also, learn about key features which make PE an ideal material of choice in applications ranging from packaging, films, tubes and more...

Properties Comparison: LDPE vs LLDPE vs HDPE


Keeping information about the properties of a thermoplastic beforehand is always beneficial. This helps in selecting the right engineering thermoplastic for a particular application. It also assists in evaluating if the end use requirement would be fulfilled or not.

The table below comprises of all relevant properties of LDPE, LLDPE and HDPE. From physical properties, dimensional stability, electrical performances to fire and thermal properties, find out every possible attribute with its values here.

Property LDPE LLDPE HDPE
 Dimensional Stability
Coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion 10 - 20 x 10-5 /°C - 6 - 11 x 10-5 /°C
Shrinkage 2 - 4 % 2 - 2.5 % 1.5 - 4 %
Water Absorption 24 hours 0.005 - 0.015 % 0.005 - 0.01 % 0.005 - 0.01 %
Electrical Performances
Arc Resistance 130 - 160 sec - 100 - 180 sec
Dielectric Constant 2.3 2.3 2.3
Dielectric Strength 16 - 28 kV/mm - 17 - 24 kV/mm
Dissipation Factor 3 - 4 x 10-4 - 3 - 20 x 10-4
Volume Resistivity 16 - 18 x 1015 Ohm.cm 16 - 18 x 1015 Ohm.cm 16 - 18 x 1015 Ohm.cm
Fire Performances
Fire Resistance (LOI) 17 - 18 % 17 - 18 % 17 - 18 %
Flammability UL94 HB HB HB
Mechanical Properties
Elongation at Break 200 - 600 % 300 - 900 % 500 - 700 %
Elongation at Yield 13 - 17.5 % 3 - 16 % 15 %
Flexibility (Flexural Modulus) 0.245 - 0.335 GPa 0.28 - 0.735 GPa 0.75 - 1.575 GPa
Hardness Rockwell M 1 1 1
Hardness Shore D 40 - 50 55 - 56 60 - 70
Stiffness (Flexural Modulus) 0.245 - 0.335 GPa 0.28 - 0.735 GPa 0.75 - 1.575 GPa
Strength at Break (Tensile) 10 - 20 MPa 25 - 45 MPa 30 - 40 MPa
Strength at Yield (Tensile) 10 - 15 MPa 10 - 30 MPa 25 - 30 MPa
Toughness (Notched Izod Impact at  Room Temperature) 999 J/m 54 - 999 J/m 20 - 220 J/m
Toughness at Low Temperature (Notched Izod Impact at Low  Temperature) 240 - 694 J/m 294 - 970 J/m -
Young Modulus 0.13 - 0.3 GPa 0.266 - 0.525 GPa 0.5 - 1.1 GPa
Optical Properties
Gloss 35 - 97 % 32 - 85 % 5 - 120 %
Haze 1.3 - 27.5 % 0.8 - 28 % 6 %
Transparency (% Visible Light  Transmission) 80 % - 80 %
Physical Properties
Density 0.917 - 0.94 g/cm3 0.915 - 0.95 g/cm3 0.94 - 0.97 g/cm3
Glass Transition Temperature -110°C -110°C -110°C
Radiation Resistance
UV Light Resistance Fair Fair Poor
Gamma Radiation Resistance - - Fair
Service Temperature
Ductile / Brittle Transition Temperature -70 °C -70 °C -70 °C
HDT @0.46 Mpa (67 psi) 40 - 50 °C - 60 - 90 °C
HDT @1.8 Mpa (264 psi) 30 - 40 °C - 45 - 60 °C
Max Continuous Service Temperature 80 - 100 °C 90 - 110 °C 100 - 120 °C
Min Continuous Service Temperature -70 °C -70 °C -70 °C
Others Properties
Thermal Insulation (Thermal Conductivity) 0.32 - 0.35 W/m.K 0.35 - 0.45 W/m.K 0.45 - 0.5 W/m.K
Sterilization Resistance (Repeated) - - Poor
Chemical Properties
Acetone @ 100%, 20°C Limited Limited Limited
Ammonium hydroxide @ 30%, 20°C Satisfying Satisfying Satisfying
Ammonium hydroxide @ diluted, 20°C Satisfying Satisfying Satisfying
Ammonium hydroxide @ diluted, 60°C Satisfying Satisfying Satisfying
Aromatic hydrocarbons @ 20°C Non Satisfactory Non Satisfactory Non Satisfactory
Aromatic hydrocarbons @ hot  conditions Non Satisfactory Non Satisfactory Non Satisfactory
Benzene @ 100%, 20°C Non Satisfactory Non Satisfactory Limited
Butylacetate @ 100%, 20°C Limited Limited Satisfying
Chlorinated solvents @ 20°C Non Satisfactory Non Satisfactory Non Satisfactory
Chloroform @ 20°C Non Satisfactory Non Satisfactory Non Satisfactory
Dioctylphtalate @ 100%, 100°C Non Satisfactory Non Satisfactory -
Dioctylphtalate @ 100%, 20°C Limited Limited Satisfying
Dioctylphtalate @ 100%, 60°C Non Satisfactory Non Satisfactory Limited
Ethanol @ 96%, 20°C Limited Limited Satisfying
Ethyleneglycol (Ethane diol) @ 100%,  20°C Satisfying Satisfying Satisfying
Ethyleneglycol (Ethane diol) @ 100%,  50°C Satisfying Satisfying Satisfying
Glycerol @ 100%, 20°C Satisfying Satisfying Satisfying
Hydrogen peroxide @ 30%, 60°C Limited Limited Satisfying
Kerosene @ 20°C Limited Limited Satisfying
Methanol @ 100%, 20°C Satisfying Satisfying Satisfying
Methylethyl ketone @ 100%, 20°C Limited Limited Satisfying
Mineral oil @ 20°C Limited Limited Satisfying
Phenol @ 20°C Satisfying Satisfying Satisfying
Silicone oil @ 20°C Satisfying Satisfying Satisfying
Sodium hydroxide @ 40% Satisfying Satisfying Satisfying
Sodium hydroxide @ 10%, 20°C Satisfying Satisfying Satisfying
Sodium hydroxide @ 10%, 60°C - - Satisfying
Sodium hypochlorite @ 20%, 20°C Satisfying Satisfying Satisfying
Strong acids @ concentrated, 20°C - - Satisfying
Toluene @ 20°C Non Satisfactory Non Satisfactory Limited
Toluene @ 60°C Non Satisfactory Non Satisfactory Non Satisfactory
Xylene @ 20°C Non Satisfactory Non Satisfactory Limited

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