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LDPE

LDPE

Low density polyethylene (LDPE) is defined by a density range of 0.910–0.940 g/cm3. LDPE has a high degree of short and long chain branching, which means that the chains do not pack into the crystal structure as well. It has, therefore, less strong intermolecular forces as the instantaneous-dipole induced-dipole attraction is less. This results in a lower tensile strength and increased ductility.

LDPE is created by free radical polymerization. The high degree of branching with long chains gives molten LDPE unique and desirable flow properties. It is used for both rigid containers and plastic film applications such as plastic bags and film wrap. In 2009 the global LDPE market had a volume of circa 22.2 billion US-dollars (15.9 billion Euros).

For common commercial grades of high-density polyethylene the melting point is typically in the range 120 to 130 °C (248 to 266 °F). The melting point for average, commercial, low density polyethylene is typically 105 to 115 °C (221 to 239 °F).

Most LDPE and HDPE grades have excellent chemical resistance and do not dissolve at room temperature because of their crystallinity. Polyethylene (other than cross-linked polyethylene) usually can be dissolved at elevated temperatures in aromatic hydrocarbons such as toluene or xylene, or in chlorinated solvents such as trichloroethane or trichlorobenzene.

When incinerated, polyethylene burns slowly with a blue flame having a yellow tip and gives off an odor of paraffin. The material continues burning on removal of the flame source and produces a drip.
 


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