Polyethylene is commonly categorized into one of several major compounds of which the most common include LDPE, LLDPE, HDPE, and Ultrahigh Molecular Weight Polypropylene. Other variants include Medium Density Polyethylene (MDPE), Ultra-low-molecular-weight polyethylene (ULMWPE or PE-WAX), High-molecular-weight polyethylene (HMWPE), High-density cross-linked polyethylene (HDXLPE), Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX or XLPE), Very-low-density polyethylene (VLDPE), and Chlorinated polyethylene (CPE).
Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) is a very flexible material with very unique flow properties that makes it particularly suitable to plastic film applications like shopping bags. LDPE has high ductility but low tensile strength which is evident in the real world by its propensity to stretch when strained.
Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) is very similar to LDPE with the added advantage that the properties of LLDPE can be altered by adjusting the formula constituents and that the overall production process for LLDPE is typically less energy intensive than LDPE.
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is a strong, high density, moderately stiff plastic with a highly crystalline structure. It is frequently used as a plastic for milk cartons, laundry detergent, garbage bins, and cutting boards.
Ultrahigh Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMW) is an extremely dense version of polyethylene with molecular weights typically an order of magnitude greater than HDPE. It can be spun into threads with tensile strengths many times greater than steel and is frequently incorporated into high performance equipment like bulletproof vests.
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