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POLYETHYLENE: Basic properties and application area

POLYETHYLENE: Basic properties and application area

POLYETHYLENE: Basic properties and application area

Polyethylene is an organic compound that is the result of polymerization of ethylene. This material has the form of a white waxy mass.

Polyethylene (PE) is of two basic types and molecular structure is significantly different from each other as shown in their properties. Both types are the product of ethylene CH2 = CH2. In one modification form monomers form linear chains with a degree of polymerization (DP) of 5,000 or more; in the other modification there are the branching of 4-6 carbon atoms, which are linked to the main chain with a chaotic manner. Linear polyethylene are the result of applying the special catalysts, the polymerization process is carried out at moderate temperatures (up to 150°С) and pressures (up to 20 atm).

Polyethylene: main properties and characteristics:

- transparency in a thick layer;
- crystallization is carried out at a temperature from  -60 °
С to  -269 °С;
- polyethylene absorbs moisture;
- it is insoluble in organic solvents at room temperature;
- it tends to swell when it is heated to 80 °C at first, and then it is dissolved in aromatic hydrocarbons and its halogen derivatives;

- resistant to the effects of aqueous solutions of salts, acids, alkalis, but when heated above 60 °C it is destroyed when exposed to sulfuric acid and nitric acid;

- polyethylene undergoes wetting and bonding in the case of a short-term reaction with the oxidant.
As mentioned above, polyethylene has several of its modifications, which differ in their mode of production and specifications:

Polyethylene of high density (HDPE) or polyethylene of low density (LDPE).

Polyethylene of high density (HDPE) is a result of a polymerization process of ethylene exposure at high pressure in tubular reactors and reactors with mixing devices while using radical type initiators.

Polyethylene of low density (LDPE) or high density (HDPE) is a polymer which is produced during the ethylene polymerization under low pressure conditions. Under standard conditions it is a solid, rigid, relatively transparent substance that is used as a raw material for the manufacture of various technical subjects, and domestic purposes.

Today this material is widely used in pipe production. Polyethylene pipes are not subject to corrosion that is why it is used in the sphere of water supply. Other substances are supplied with the help of polyethylene pipes, such as salt solutions, acids, alkalis.

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