Polythene or Polyethylene (IUPAC name: PE) is a handy plastic widely found daily. As a lightweight thermoplastic with variable crystal structures that may vary according to density (LDPE, MDPE, or HDPE), Polythene is one of the most frequently encountered plastics today. What do you need to consider about polythene products.
Polymers are composed of the chemical compound ethylene (IUPAC name: ‘ethene’). Ethylene is an inert monomer requiring an external catalyst to polymerize into plastic material.
It is used for packaging.
Polythene plastic is used in an assortment of products. For example, it’s often used as food packaging material to protect items against moisture and rust damage.
To produce plastic, ethylene – the gas that forms milk and petrol – must first be exposed to high heat and pressure before an additional chemical catalyst (known as an “activator”) is added; this changes its behavior so it forms long chains at average temperatures and pressures, becoming solid.
Polythene can be made into pellets formed into different shapes by blowing, shaping, or molding them. Once formed into shapes or thin sheets and bags, these polythene pieces can be strong enough to support numerous times their weight – yet flexible enough for many uses – from food packaging and shopping bags to wire protection layers and protective layers for cables – and finally can even be recycled at the end of their lifespan.
It is used for transport.
Polythene bags transport products between locations while protecting them in transit.
Plastic polymers are produced through catalytically polymerizing ethene gas under high pressure and temperature conditions to form long string-like molecules that can then be made into pellets and melted at higher temperatures to produce consumer goods such as cigarette packs and sanitary bags.
Polypropylene, a thermoplastic polymer and the most widely-used resin worldwide, can be molded into injection-molded films or bottles using injection molding, blow-molding, or extrusion processes. At the same time, it’s also widely utilized for building applications such as window frames, sewer pipes, and geomembranes.
It is used for building.
Polythene is a waterproof plastic film composed of petroleum (other names like polyethylene sheeting or plastic film may also know it). This versatile product can be found in many applications but is especially useful for damp-proofing.
Polyethylene, commonly referred to by its IUPAC name ‘poly(ethene),’ or simply PE, is one of the world’s most frequently used polymers, accounting for more than 100 million tonnes annually as of 2017. PE is composed primarily of ethylene molecules which have the chemical formula C2H4n.
Production requires that an ethylene molecule is divided into two pieces, each composed of 2 carbon and four hydrogen atoms, before being linked together by side branches to form polymers.
Polymerization requires the appropriate catalysts, typically titanium(III) chloride or Ziegler-Natta. The most widely used stimuli produce linear low-density (HDPE); other forms include low-length-low-density (mLLDPE) and cross-linked PE, each of which has unique properties due to differences in their chemical reactions during polymerization.
It is used for decoration.
Polythene is an ideal material around the home as it’s durable, reusable, and easy to clean – perfect for covering large furniture such as garden sheds or toolboxes and protecting floors or paintwork from scratches.
Plastic is also an effective insulator, making it helpful in keeping the inside of a vehicle or home excellent during summer and warm during winter. Plastic comes in different forms, such as tubs, bottles, and bags, and can even be recycled into fibers that will eventually be spun into new plastic products.
Eric Fawcett and Reginald Gibson of Eric Fawcett & Reginald Gibson Industrial Chemical Company 1933 first created this exciting material, silicone rubber. After five years of tweaking its composition, they eventually patented and released it for consumer consumption as it is today – eventually becoming one of Britain’s 20 most essential chemicals! Since then, it has been used in everyday items, from cat litter trays and margarine tubs to packaging technology advancement.
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