What is HDPE Material?
High-Density polyethylene, aka HDPE, is a trendy thermoplastic material made from petroleum. HDPE is known for its excellent tensile strength, high melting point, low cost, and good impact strength. HDPE can be used in various applications like milk jugs, plastic bottles, beach bottles, cutting boards, and pipings because of such impressive properties.
HDPE is also very easy to fabricate and weld using any standard thermoplastic welding equipment, mainly available in sheet and rod forms.
Easy welding properties and versatility in its nature make HDPE the right choice for manufacturing larger plastic products like water tanks and chemical tanks, difficult to manufacture without using high-graded plastic material.
HDPE is also available in multiple additional grades. It can be utilized to manufacture various products from many categories like FDA compliant for cutting boards, disinfectant for medical facilities, woodgrain texture for the outdoor environment, etc.
HDPE Properties –
1. Enhanced Stiffness HDPE:
Conventionally, used for applications that are supposed to last for a long time ( at least 8 to 10 years). It offers supreme flatness and consistency and is 25% thicker compared to the original HDPE material.
2. UV Stabilized grade HDPE:
It does exactly what it sounds like. Typically, 25% to 30% lighter than the original HDPE is mostly utilized to resist UV and water exposure.
Those properties and availability in the sheet form make this HDPE a prime choice for manufacturing marine products, water tanks, playgrounds, outdoor cabinetry, etc.
3. Cutting Board grade HDPE:
This HDPE Material is extensively used for manufacturing food-related products, mostly in food storage space. It meets all the FDA requirements to directly or indirectly contact food and related items.
It is resistant to hot water, and cleaning chemicals come with no absorption ability for moisture. Those properties make it perfect for F&B Sector.
4. Antimicrobial HDPE:
Antimicrobial HDPE has a unique property of resistance towards bacteria, algae, and fungi. What makes it resistant to them is its unique molecular configuration.
This HDPE is bonded at a molecular level, so it retains its usefulness for a prolonged period of time. It also works and blends well with woodworking tools, which makes it strong and durable.
The durability makes this HDPE a good choice to be implemented in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, medical carts, etc.
The unique property of resistance to bacteria and algae is helping this HDPE material steadily increase its presence in the retail industry, where showcasing and storing products for a long time is a crucial part of their business.
5. Engravable HDPE:
The UV-stabilized HDPE is durable, weather-resistant, and available in sheet form, which easily blends with machines. This HDPE material comes in multiple color options.
The colors are reliable, long-lasting, and don’t need additional painting or refinishing. That color holding nature makes it applicable to produce carnival equipment, number plates, toys, and children’s furniture.
6. WoodGrain HDPE:
WoodGrain HDPE is known for being easily operable with basic woodworking equipment and negligible maintenance. It comes with an authentic woodgrain color and is flexible enough to be shaped for desired objects.
Colors can be changed on every sheet. No worries about rotting, chipping, and eliminating. Suitable for outdoor applications construction and related products, furniture, and playgrounds.
Below are the typical properties of HDPE Material:
|Melting Point||°C||126 – 135|
Coefficient of Thermal Expansion x 10-5
|cm / (cm °C)||12.5 – 18.0|
|Density||g mL-1||0.955 – 0.961|
Heat Deflection Temperature, 0.5 MPa
|°C||64 – 77|
Heat Deflection Temperature, 1.8 MPa (unannealed)
|°C||76.5 – 78|
Shore Hardness, D Scale
|–||55 – 67|
Tensile Strength, Yield at 23 C
|MPa||23.0 – 29.5|
Tensile Strength, Break at 23 C
|MPa||30.5 – 33|
Tensile Modulus at 23 C
|MPa||900 – 1550|
|Flexural Modulus||MPa||970- 1380|
Flexural Strength, Yield
|Izod Notched||J/m (kJ/m2)||71 – 159 (20)|
|V/mm x 104||2.1 – 3.5|
Dielectric Constant @ 1 MHz
|–||2.2 – 2.4|
|Ohm-cm||6 x 1015|
Dissipation Factor @ 1 MHz
|–||0.0001 – 0.0005|
Continuous Service Temperature
|°C||-73 – 82|
Water Absorption, 24 hr. Immersion
|%||0.01 – 0.03|
Linear Mold Shrinkage
Advantages of HDPE Material –
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) has quite a few benefits for both manufacturer and buyer. Let’s discuss some of them.
1. HDPE is corrosion-resistant, making it suitable to produce essential public infrastructure like underground piping as it wouldn’t rust by weather effects and is long-lasting. Sterilization of HDPE makes it perfect for food and beverage storage containers.
2. Easy malleability and moldability is another standout feature for HDPE material as it increases its applications substantially. The material is rigid and has an impressive melting point of 210 to 270°C. However, once it melts, it can be utilized in producing a lot of products like water tanks, cutting boards, detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, pipings, etc.
3. HDPE material has a fabulous strength to density ratio of 0.93 to 0.97 g (it might not seem a lot compared to LDPE, but there’s a catch). When seen under a microscope, HDPE molecular structure differs from LDPE. It has a linear structure with little branching, which results in a stronger molecular structure and greater tensile strength. That’s the reason why a 60 grams HDPE cup can hold about a gallon of liquid without any bending.
4. HDPE is an easily recyclable material. Recyclability is an essential factor, especially these days when the global carbon footprint is on the rise. Recycling HDPE can save up to 50% of your material cost, and no worries about quality as recycled HDPE material is said to be as good as “virgin” material.
Disadvantages of HDPE Material –
Although there are very few HDPE disadvantages, I still would like to shed some light on them.
- High flammability
- Considerably, high thermal expansion.
- Non-resistant to chlorinated hydrocarbons
- Non-resistant to oxidizing acids
Fantastic mechanical properties make HDPE suitable for many high-end applications across various industries.
- Consumer Goods
- Packaging Applications
- Fibers and Textiles
1. Consumer Goods:
HDPE’s inexpensiveness and easy processability with injection molding and extrusion molding make it a highly usable consumer goods application.
Products like kitchen wares, ice trays, food and plastic packaging, dustbins, etc.
2. Packaging Applications:
Impact strength and reasonable chemicals resistance help HDPE polyethylene with applications in industrial bulk containers, jerry cans, drums, fruit juices, crates, bottles for keeping liquid foods, etc.
3. Fibers and Textiles:
High tensile strength and easy processability boost HDPE’s competitiveness for manufacturing products like industrial and decorative fabrics, fishing and sports net, ropes, nets, etc.
Other applications include fuel tanks – the automobile industry, wires, and cables, pipes for drainage, industrial uses, cable protection, large inspection chambers, gas, water, sea downspout, etc.
The Future of HDPE Material –
The future of high-density Polyethylene seems to be bright as a study conducted by Market Research Future states that it can show a CAGR growth of 4.21% till 2023(Despite the Covid-19 pandemic virtually stopped the global manufacturing industry).
The injection molding method is the largest contributor of HDPE products in the market, with almost a quarter of the market share. HDPE is also extensively utilized for manufacturing firms used for safeguarding goods in storage. Given the ever-rising demand for packaging films, the thin-film applications of HDPE are expected to witness exponential growth in the future.
There are two things that will work in the HDPE’s favor – the first being it is utilized in both for making flexible and rigid packaging. Second, increasing awareness against single-use plastics is expected to further build up a healthy business ecosystem for HDPE, and, in turn, benefit the manufacturers.
Expanding the packaging and automobile industry will keep the demand for HDPE steady worldwide (Especially in North America and Europe). Talking about the Asian market, China, India, Thailand, Indonesia, and Bangladesh will keep the momentum going with flourishing construction and automobile industries.
Another major Indysty giving a significant push to HDPE is E-commerce. People are more comfortable shopping online than ever before, and that will drive the demand in developed, as well as in the developing nations.
HDPE material is strong, rigid, and highly applicable; it can improve your productivity and cut your costs simultaneously.
Interesting Read – Plastic Thermoforming Mold: Information about Male Vs. Female Molds
1. Why is HDPE used in hospitals?
Ans. There are several factors behind HDPE’s rapid adoption in hospitals and the medical industry in general. Its features like high impact resistance, low moisture absorption, corrosion resistance and resistance from chemicals, and most importantly, processing versatility, make it a go-to plastic material for the medical industry.
It does not splinter or rot, does not fade and retain bacteria, and is also fairly affordable, attracting hospitals to create reliable and cost-effective medical devices.
2. Can you microwave HDPE?
Ans. HDPE is safe and FDA-approved for food applications making it compatible with microwaves, and It has a tolerance of -40 to 266 degrees Fahrenheit before distortion. In the food packaging industry, HDPE is generally used for containers.
3. Can HDPE be boiled?
Ans. HDPE comes with an outstanding temperature range and short periods of heating with up to 248°F (120°C) or for long periods up to 230°F (110°C) is considered safe. That makes the thermoplastic used in several food grade applications.
4. Which is stronger, HDPE or PVC?
Ans. The comparing is a bit unusual, and both materials are strong and rigid in their own right. Still, if we take certain metrics into account, then PVC is stronger and heavier in terms of brute strength, but HDPE is harder and more heat and abrasion-resistant.
5. Is HDPE stronger than wood?
Ans. HDPE has been exhibited to be more and stable than most plastics, wood, and even metals. It possesses excellent impact strength making so, and it can easily withstand the pressure and harsh scenarios of your facility. It won’t even scratch or dent, which means you don’t even need to keep replacements hand-on.
Suggested Read –
- Antistatic vs. Static Dissipative Plastics | Which One to Choose?
- How to Keep Your Plastic Workshop in Best Shape?
- PTFE Vs. Teflon: What are The Differences?
- 7 Best UV Resistant Plastics For Outdoor Applications
- Mold Temperature in Plastics | A Complete Analysis
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- What is ABS Plastic | How is ABS Material Made | Key Properties of ABS | Applications of ABS Plastic | Advantages & Disadvantages of ABS Plastic
- What is Bakelite?: The Plastic That Changed the World
The Takeaway –
HDPE material is highly beneficial for any manufacturer and buyer. It comes with a fantastic set of properties, which will make it handy for any company looking to minimize costs and maximize profits. I’ve tried to explain the same thing in my piece.
I would appreciate it if your share your reviews in the comment box.