Polyethylene is a plastic that can be found in items that we use in our everyday lives. This versatile plastic can be found in plastic bags at the grocery stores, as a component of shampoo bottles, in children’s toys, and even in the likes of bulletproof vests.
Another use of polyethylene is for the making of pressure tanks. How are these plastics used for pressure tanks? To answer this question, we need to break own what polyethylene is.
To give you a little hint of chemistry, it is the polymer used the most in everyday life. It’s also considered the most famous plastic in the world. The versatility inherent in this plastic actually comes for the simplicity of its molecular structure.
Like Lego blocks, sometimes the most complex structures are made from the simplest of components. In this article, we’ll talk about what makes polyethylene the super chameleon of plastics
What is Polyethylene?
Polyethylene was synthesized for the first time by German scientist and chemist Hans von Pechmann and was very much an accident. Further accidents by other scientists combined to bring us this vital plastic that is used in so many of our everyday plastic products.
It is extremely versatile, thermoplastic polymer that has a crystalline structure that is made up of ethylene monomers. These long chains of ethylene monomers, or single units of ethylene linked together, gave polyethylene its name. It means much ethylene.
The Different Kinds of Polyethylene
There are various types of polyethylene and the different densities determine its application and use. HDPE or High-Density polyethylene is a moderately-stiff plastic that is characterized by its highly crystallized structure. This structure lends to it being high-density and thus strong. HDPE is used in garbage bins, cutting boards, and similar products.
LDPE or Low-Density polyethylene is extremely flexible and is used to make materials such as plastic bags. It isn’t very strong which you can tell by how it stretches when pulled.
UHMW or Ultrahigh Molecular Weight Polyethylene is a highly dense polyethylene that is many times denser than HDPE. When spun into threads it can have a strength much stronger than steel. This is than incorporate into equipment such as bulletproof vests.
LLDPE or Linear Low-Density Polyethylene same as LDPE but with alterations to make them less expensive.
The Use of Polyethylene in Pressure Tanks
Pressure tanks usually come lined with high-density polyethylene liners. These liners are used for what is known as containment applications. The liners are used inside pressure tanks because they add durability and are known for their conductive properties.
The conductivity is complimented by the ability of the HDPE liners to withstand high temperatures. They are chemically resistant and are known for their reliability in withstanding exposure, including great ultraviolet protection. This resistance ultraviolet radiation helps add to the pressure tanks ability to resist aging giving the tanks longevity even with the extreme weather.
These HDPE geomembranes are available in various surface finishes, including textured, conductive, and smooth depending on the need. Smooth textures are preferred when low permeability is necessary, while the textured HDPE geomembranes are great for preventing the slippage of materials located adjacent to the HDPE geomembrane.
The HDPE lines also tend to be stiff which helps them hold their shape and provides cohesiveness to the liner itself. Overall, the HDPE liners help protect the pressure tanks so that if they can last for a long time. This is good news as it means less maintenance and longer periods between replacements. You may also want to check Best Well Pressure Tank Reviews.
Other Uses for Polyethylene
Various polyethylene resins are often sold to a wide variety of companies as raw material to make many of the products mentioned throughout this article. Below we’ll list the various products that can be made from both HDPE and LDPE resins.
From High-Density Polyethylene resins you have benefits such as –
- The overall extension of food freshness
- The reduction of packing gauge
- The improvement of organoleptic properties
- The enhancement of barrier properties
- The provision of product protection
Because of the versatility, strength, and apparent durability of the resins they are an excellent alternative to the use of more traditional materials to make a wide variety of everyday products.
Such products include –
- bags and liners
- caps and closures
- Handheld Shower
- corrugated and conduit
- drums and intermediate bulk containers
- food packaging
- heavy duty sacks
- hygiene films
- industrial injection molding
- pail and crate
- protective packaging
- rotational molding
- small part blow molding
- stretch film
- trash bags
Polyethylene – The Super Polymer
The accidental invention of polyethylene plastics has quite literally changed the world. From the bi-weekly garbage truck runs to the wrapping of your kid’s daily sandwiches, polyethylene makes an impact – both small and large- in our everyday lives.
We hope this article has informed you on the magnificent chameleon abilities of polyethylene and perhaps with the feeling that chemistry can actually be interesting.
Maybe you won’t become a chemist, but you’ll gain a greater understanding on the inner workings of your pressure tank.
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