Polyethylene - PE, EPE & EVA

Polyethylene (PE) is the most commonly used plastic polymer in the world with annual production of 60 million tonnes - which considering its low density, is a heap - close to two billion cubic meters! It is produced through the polymerization of ethylene. The process forms long chains of ethylene which are linked, or not, depending on whether a catalyst is used in production.The category name ‘Polyethylene Foams’, includes products known as EPE, Ethafoam, LDPE, PE, XPE and IXPEFoam Sales carries the main types of Polyethylene Foams in roll and sheet forms.

Polyethylene Foams are flexible or semi-rigid, closed cell foams made from low density polyethylene (LDPE) bead material.

Most polyethylene foams are manufactured by LDPE bead expansion, followed by extrusion of the liquid formulation to the required sheet density. The extruded product is cut to sheet length or rolled, as required.

Polyethylene foam is renowned for its ability to bear up under pressure without losing its original form and cushioning properties, and to withstand elongation before breaking. These characteristics make it the ideal foam for applications where both support and durability are important. This elastic property of polyethylene, combined with its non-abrasive, light weight, buoyancy, resistance to oils, solvents and chemical attack, odourless and affordability qualities, contribute to making polyethylene the world’s most popular and versatile thermoplastic polymer. Polyethylene foam products are durable, reusable and 100% recyclable.

A summary of the characteristics of Polyethylene (PE) foams includes:

  • Non-abrasive, providing good surface protection without scratching
  • Clean and non dusting
  • Flexible, compressible, shock absorbing, vibration dampening and cushioning
  • Resilient, long term rebound, and compressive recovery
  • Consistency, dimensional stability, and good compressive creep properties
  • High load bearing capacity
  • Lightweight with low embedded energy
  • High thermal resistance / low thermal conductivity
  • Moisture, water and air impermeability
  • Odourless and inert
  • Bacteria, fungi and chemical resistant
  • Cost and labor efficient
  • Non-corrosive
  • Excellent dielectric properties
  • Buoyant
  • CFC free, ozone friendly, and recyclable

So there are plenty of reasons why polyethylene foams are so popular!

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