On the microscopic level, high-density polyethylene has a clean, linear structure that makes the plastic light and strong. It can be manufactured and shipped at low costs, saving companies millions in materials. The simple material is waterproof, UV-resistant, and flexible under pressure, making it the perfect material for numerous uses.
Cost-Effective Uses of HDPE Sheets
HDPE is commonly recognized as the most cost-effective piping material. Pipe-grade HDPE retains its flexibility at temperatures down to -220˚ Fahrenheit, making it a great candidate to distribute cold liquids underground.
What the plastic is infamous for is being tricky to bond. Luckily, bonding techniques have been perfected since HDPE’s invention in the 1930’s. The most cost-effective technique is called electrofusion. Two pipe components are fitted together with a specially designed electrofusion fitting, which is then slowly heated to the melting point. The two pipes then weld into one.
Where HDPE shines brightest is in the consumable goods industry. It’s flexible, strong, and non-leaching. That makes it the perfect container for everything from cereal to ice cream. Best of all, consumers can drop HDPE containers right into the recycling bin when they’re done.
Unlike PVC and polystyrene, HDPE does not leach into water, making it a safe and healthy food container. Not surprisingly, HDPE is the preferred material for baby bottles and disposable cups.
HDPE does not interact with most chemicals. It can safely contain laundry detergent, household cleaner, motor oil, or antifreeze. Adding a pigment to the plastic increases its strength and lengthens the shelf life of the product.
Being both durable and flexible, HDPE toys usually bounce instead of breaking. The material is safe for infants and toddlers as it does not leech in liquids. Being UV-resistant, HDPE also retains its color for longer than most plastics.
When Not to Use HDPE
This plastic is immune to most chemicals, but will oxidate in acids. For containing acids, we recommend PCTFE. PCTFE is a durable, waterproof plastic with a variety of uses, but is not as cost-effective as HDPE.
Like most plastics, HDPE melts quickly when exposed to open flame. When working with fire, there are two options. One is to treat the plastic with a flame-retardant layer. The other is to use metal instead of plastic.
HDPE is the best budget plastic. That is why it is the material of choice for consumable goods containers everywhere. To see where your company can save, consult Specified Fittings for free.