What is LDPE Material? | The Complete Guide

What is LDPE?

Hey everybody, today I will be talking about LDPE. It’s the comprehensive guide you will find on the internet. I have gathered all the facts and details after extensive research.

What is LDPE?

Low-density Polyethylene, or LDPE, belongs to the Polyethylene branch of thermoplastics. It is soft, lightweight, tough, and flexible in its nature. The thermoplastic material is known for having low-temperature compatibility and good corrosion resistance. The polymer also boasts good chemical properties and impact resistance, making it easy to fabricate or process. It has a melting point of 110°C.

Their names themselves can figure out the major difference between LDPE and HDPE. HDPE has a higher density than LDPE, which means that the former has more mass than its volume.

It is more branched out in its structure rather than being in perfect rows, which is why its low density/volume; thus is often used in applications where structural strength and stiffness are important requirements.

How is LDPE Made?

How is LDPE Made?

Like other thermoplastics, the polyethylene monomer is derived using a process called polymerization, where small molecules called “fractions” are removed, and some are transformed into desired thermoplastic.

Presently, two methods are widely used for LDPE production – stirred autoclave or tubular routes. However, the latter methods are currently gaining popularity because of their high ethylene conversion ratio.

From that, LDPE plastic is extracted from gaseous ethylene under very high pressure and high temperatures(up to 350 °C) with the catalyst oxide initiators in the present. It is the first polyethylene to be priced, even before HDPE.

The process creates a polymer structure with long and short branches, with shorter branches in Low-density polyethylene.

LDPE Properties 

Low-Density polyethylene comes with a wide range of properties. There are differences in high-density polyethylene and low-density polyethylene properties, but some have similar applications. Below are the main attributes:

  1. Great resistance to alcohols, acids, and dilute alkalis
  2. Fantastic electrical insulating properties
  3. Meager water absorption
  4. High impact strength at low temperature
  5. Decent weatherability
  6. Good processability as compared to price (inexpensive)
  7. Density: 0.910–0.940 g/cm3
  8. Meager resistance to mineral oils, halogenated and aromatic hydrocarbons, and oxidizing agents
  9. Normal temperature resistance  – 80°C continuously and 95°C for shorter times.

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Comparison: Low-density polyethylene and High-Density Polyethylene Properties:

Property LDPE HDPE
Mechanical Properties
Flexural Modulus 0.245 – 0.335 GPa
0.75 – 1.575 GPa`
Elongation of Break 200 – 600 % 500 – 700 %
Elongation at Yield 13 – 17% 15 %
Hardness Rockwell M 1 1
Hardness Shore D 40 – 50 60 – 70
Stiffness 0.245 – 0.335 GPa
0.75 – 1.575 GPa
Strength at break 10 – 20 MPa 30 – 40 MPa
Strength at Yield 10 – 15 MPa 25 – 30 MPa
Toughness at Room Temperature 999 J/m 20 – 220 J/m
Chemical Properties
Aromatic Hydrocabrons @20°C Non-satisfactory
Aromatic Hydrocarbons in hot conditions Non-satisfactory Non-satisfactory
Ammonium hydroxide @ diluted, 20°C Good Good
Ammonium hydroxide @ diluted, 60°C Good Good
Chlorinated solvents @ 20°C Non-satisfactory
Ethanol @ 96%, 20°C Non-satisfactory Good
Kerosene @ 20°C Non-satisfactory Good
Methanol @ 100%, 20°C Good Good
Electrical Properties
Dielectric Strength 16 – 28 kV/mm 17 – 24 kV/mm
Dielectric Constant 2.3 2.3
Dissipation Factor 3 – 4 x 10-4 3 – 20 x 10-4
Arc Resistance 130 – 160 sec 100 – 180 sec
Volume Resistivity 16 – 18 x 1015
16 – 18 x 1015
Optical Properties
Gloss 35 – 97 % 5 – 120 %
Transparency 80% 80%
Haze 1.3 – 27.5 % 6 %
Density 0.917 – 0.94 g/cm3
0.94 – 0.97 g/cm3
Glass Transition Temperature -110°C -110°C


LDPE disadvantages

  1. The processing attribute at low temperatures limits LDPE’s applications as they can’t be processed at higher temperatures.
  2. High permeability towards gases, especially carbon dioxide
  3. Meager UV resistance
  4. Susceptible to stress cracking
  5. Highly flammable


LDPE Applications

Lightweight plastics are extremely useful, let alone LDPE plastics. It is mainly used for pricing wash bottles, shopping bags, containers, dispensing bottles, tubings, computer components, etc. Here are some of the major applications:

  1. Packaging Applications: Pertaining to LDPE material’s inexpensiveness and good flexibility, it is extensively used in plastic packaging applications for both consumer and industrial divisions – lunch boxes, squeeze bottles, pharmaceutical packaging, liners, trash bags, liners, laminations, food packaging films, etc.
  2. Consumer Goods: Agriculture films used for packaging and storing all sorts of agriculture products, flexible and lightweight toys, housewares, etc.
  3. Pipes & Fittings: Low water absorption and lightweight properties make LDPE the go-to thermoplastic for water-related applications. Example – water pipes, hoses, etc.
  4. Wires & Cables: Good electrical properties make low-density polyethylene a prime choice for manufacturing cable jacketing & coatings and sub-consumer insulators.

Is LDPE Toxic?

IS LDPE toxic?

The plastic recycling code of LDPE is #4. It does not contain BPA but is susceptible to leaching estrogenic chemicals. It is recyclable plastic. However, recycling is not as common and easy as other thermoplastics; as you read earlier in the applications, it is 100% safe for human consumption.

Additionally, it’s not compostable, and a low-density polyethylene particle may take thousands of years to degrade.

Engaging Read – What is ABS Plastic | The Ultimate Guide

Processing of LDPE 

The most common processing methods for low-density polyethylene are injection molding and extrusion. Let’s see some steps for injection molding.

  1. The crystallization tendency holds significant importance in the process.
  2. Specifically, for injection molding, the speed of molding material should be higher, and injection pressure should be lower.
  3.  Processing temperature – 160° to 220°C
  4. A high shrinkage rate is susceptible

The Future of LDPE Plastic 

According to a study by Mordor Intelligence, the global LDPE market reached a capacity of 22 million tons in 2020, and it will exhibit a CAGR of 3% from 2021 to 2026.

The numbers will be affected because of the Covid-19 pandemic because of a sharp drop in revenues for instruction and packaging industries, which are the largest LDPE consumers. But, there is some good news, the e-commerce and healthcare sectors have shown impressive even during the pandemic.

Asia-pacific was the largest LDPE plastic processing and consuming region with almost 30% market share. Countries like China, Japan, and India are witnessing rapid growth in the packaging and construction sectors(Even amid a pandemic).

As of writing this piece, a Covid-19 vaccine has been discovered by scientists, and people have started to come out, go to work, and try to make things normal, so the severe damage caused by the pandemic might be short-lived.

With the rapid economic recovery in the Asia-Pacific region with growth in packaging and construction verticals, the LDPE market momentum will be stable until the end of the forecast period.

LDPE Material: A Detailed Video Explaining the Polymer



Can I mix HDPE and LDPE?

Unlike other polymers, HDPE and LDEP are miscible. They can be recycled together. However, their structural design is drastically different from each other, so it’s better to separate them.

Can you weld LDPE to HDPE?

Ans. The essential rule about polyethylene is that you can weld low to high but not high to low. An LDPE rod can easily be welded inside an HDPE sheet, but not vice versa. The reason s very simple The higher the density, the more difficult it is to break down the components to weld. If the parts cannot be bro­ken down at the same rate, they can­not weld together correctly.

What are the 7 types of plastics?

The Basics Of 7 Common Types of Plastics are:

1) Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE)

2) High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

3) Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or Vinyl)

4) Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

5) Polypropylene (PP)

6) Polystyrene (PS or Styrofoam)

7) Other.

What to Choose LDPE or PET bottles?

Hands down, PET is the best material for manufacturing all types of bottles, but sometimes using LDPE bottles makes more sense. LDPE is a more squeezable material, dispensing sauces, honey, creams, condiments, and syrups. It is also better at withstanding colder temperatures than PET.

What is the difference between LDPE and LLDPE?

LDPE is a homopolymer constituted by ethylene monomers. LLDPE is a copolymer of ethylene and another longer olefin integrated to improve properties such as tensile strength in harsh environments.

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Final Thoughts

Finally, I would like to say that LDPE is a very useful thermoplastic that can help you cut costs and boost your profits. Kindly share your reviews and something you feel I’ve missed in the post in the comment section.

Peace Out!!!

3 thoughts on “What is LDPE Material? | The Complete Guide”

  1. I was unaware that LDPE and HDPE can be recycled together. My uncle is interested in manufacturing some goods, but is unsure of what steps to take. I’ll be certain to get into contact with a professional in order to help my uncle in his time of need!

    • Yes Llyod, they can be recycled. However, as I’ve also mentioned they can be recycled together but that will have a big compromise on their properties. So be careful.

  2. Hi, I understand that these are non-biodegradable. Are there any alternatives for these plastics that are bio-degradable and can be used for small container bottles?


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