Polyethylene: What is it? Uses in rotomolding

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In this blog, we will explore polyethylene (PE), its chemical structure, advantages, and applications. We will discuss low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE), highlighting their specific uses. Additionally, we will explain how at ABC ROTOMOLDEO we utilize this material to offer customized and sustainable solutions in various industrial sectors.

What is polyethylene?

Polyethylene (PE) is the most widely used plastic in the world, notable for its simple chemical structure (CH2-CH2)n and an annual production that reaches approximately 80 million tons. This whitish thermoplastic polymer is known for its versatility and its ability to combine with other components that enhance its strength, durability, and density. Its use ranges from flexible packaging to applications in construction and the manufacturing of high-strength devices.

Commercially developed in the 1950s thanks to Ziegler-Natta catalysts, polyethylene has become a cornerstone of various sectors due to its low cost, non-toxic properties, resistance, and its capability as a non-conductive material. Its importance in the circular economy is notable, facilitating recycling and reuse practices that contribute to environmental sustainability.

This material is not only fundamental for the daily manufacture of numerous plastic parts by rotomolding, but it is also crucial for innovation in the sustainable management of resources across multiple industrial sectors.

Advantages of polyethylene products

Polyethylene, one of the most widely used raw materials in rotomolding, is an inert and chemically non-reactive material, making it ideal for various applications. Its whitish and translucent appearance, along with its strength and flexibility at ordinary temperatures, makes it suitable for packaging and toys. It is an excellent thermal and electrical insulator, used in cables and insulating materials. Additionally, it is resistant to acids, alkalis, and weak oxidizing agents, although it is soluble in aromatic hydrocarbons at high temperatures. Its chemical composition, similar to paraffin, provides it with density and chemical stability, broadening its uses in the industry.


Types of Polyethylene

Polyethylene is primarily classified into two types based on its density: low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). These types differ in their density and hardness, finding specific applications in various sectors. LDPE is ideal for flexible packaging such as supermarket bags and plastic wraps, while HDPE is commonly used in construction, such as in pipes and storage containers. Ambos tipos de polietileno destacan por su versatilidad, permitiendo su uso en una amplia variedad de productos cotidianos e industriales.

Low-Density Polyethylene

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is a thermoplastic polymer from the olefin family, composed of repeating units of ethylene. Its highly branched chain structure gives it a lower density compared to high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

Its main characteristics are:

  • Very low cost.
  • Good thermal and chemical resistance.
  • High flexibility and impact resistance.
  • Excellent electrical insulation properties.
  • Very low water absorption.
  • Milky color, almost transparent depending on the thickness.
LDPE is recyclable (assigned Plastic Identification Code 4) and easy to process by injection or extrusion, although it is difficult to print, paint, or glue onto it.

Uses of Low-Density Polyethylene

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is widely used due to its flexibility and durability. It is ideal for making plastic bags, supermarket and garbage bags, as well as transparent film for domestic and industrial use. It is also used in food packaging, detergent bottles, chemical containers, and milk cartons. Additionally, it is common in the production of toys, pipes, cables, caps, automotive parts, and household items. In the healthcare and cosmetic sectors, it is used to create protective packaging. The properties of LDPE make it versatile for applications such as waterproofing land and manufacturing protective devices like helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads.


High-density polyethylene

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is an essential thermoplastic polymer known for its strength, durability, and versatility. Used in industries such as construction, packaging, automotive, and agriculture, HDPE has transformed many applications due to its unique properties.

HDPE is manufactured through a molding process that produces a strong and recyclable polymeric material, suitable for various industrial and commercial uses. Its characteristics include flexibility, waxy transparency, weather resistance, and toughness at low temperatures (up to -60°C). Additionally, it is easy to process using common methods, making it a cost-effective choice.

Its recycling capability (assigned Plastic Identification Code 2) allows for repeated use of the material and integration of recycled material into the supply chain, promoting sustainability. High-density polyethylene is used in packaging, automotive components, and as monolayer bottles for pasteurized milk or coextruded bottles for UHT or sterilized milk.

Uses of high-density polyethylene

The durability and weather resistance of HDPE make it immune to mold, decomposition, and insect infestations. Its versatility makes it an ideal choice for various outdoor items such as patio furniture, playground installations, storage containers, garbage bins, composters, and vehicle components like fuel tanks.

Indoors, especially in kitchens, HDPE is preferred for food and beverage containers, cutting boards, shelves, countertops, and small appliances. Its properties make it ideal for manufacturing pipes, jerry cans for cleaning products, container caps, and plastic tables and chairs.

Additionally, HDPE is resistant to extreme temperatures, allowing its use in pipelines for fluids and geothermal containers. Its ability to handle various chemicals makes it common in jerry cans for cleaning and hygiene products.


We are Specialists in Rotomolding

At ABC Rotomolding, we work with polyethylene in our rotomolding process and leverage the unique advantages of this material, such as its chemical resistance, flexibility, and durability. This allows us to offer high-quality products with long lifespans across a wide range of applications, from drone storage crates to bladeless wind turbines.

Additionally, rotational molding enables us to adapt to any sector due to the versatility of the plastic materials used, from the food and healthcare sectors to the energy sector. Contact us for more information on how we can bring your ideas to life by choosing the most suitable raw materials.

We manufacture all kinds of parts through rotomolding for various sectors.

At ABC ROTOMOLDING, we offer comprehensive service and design services with various technical solutions: different thicknesses, thermoplastic and eco-friendly materials, integration of inserts, metal threads and hardware, over 200 textures, and a wide range of colors.

We manufacture plastic parts for sectors including automotive, aerospace, industrial, energy, logistics, agriculture, defense, healthcare, food, and urban furniture. Our team of designers, engineers, and specialized technicians in rotomolding is ready to assist you, whether you have a defined project or an initial idea.

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