Plastic Sheeting Blog. Click on Home for all our product categories...

Are There Disadvantages to HDPE?

Posted by The Plastic Sheeting Gurus! on Thu, Dec 29, 2022 @ 06:00

HDPE is a very impressive polyethylene film. The following can be seen as the advantages or disadvantages. Here is the "con" perspective:

The Cons of Utilizing HDPE:

It is high flammability, sensitivity to stress cracking, inability to be biodegradable, inability to be composted, lack of resistance to oxidizing acids, lack of resistance to chlorinated hydrocarbons, and its high thermal expansion.

The advantages of using HDPE are as follows:

HDPE has many advantages, such as being cost-effective, able to withstand temperatures ranging from -148 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit, non-leaching, UV-resistant, dishwasher safe, resistant to most chemical solvents, and a stiff material.

Common Uses of High Density Polyethylene of HDPE

High-density polyethylene or HDPE is a commonly used petroleum thermoplastic and the most used of the three polyethylenes for a wide range of applications. If you look at this plastic under a microscope, you would see that it has a linear structure with few branches lending to its optimal strength/density ratio. As a result of its molecular makeup, this polymer shines brightest in applications where moisture resistance and cost-effectiveness are needed.

HDPE was created in the 1930s.  It was introduced to the market commercially soon after. While its higher density versions yield a more rigid result, HDPE can vary in flexibility. Low-density grades of the thermoplastic are less stiff and the high-density grades have equally high crystallinity. HDPE is a versatile thermoplastic that is widely used in a variety of applications. It is known for its durability, cost-effectiveness, and moisture resistance due to its linear structure with few branches. It was first introduced commercially in the 1930s, following its use in high-frequency radar cables during World War II. HDPE can vary in flexibility, with low-density grades being less stiff and high-density grades exhibiting high crystallinity.


Uses for HDPE:

HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) has a variety of common uses. Water bottles are a common introduction to the durable plastic, as its blow-molding properties make it perfect for food and beverage containers. Not only is it recyclable, but it is also UV-resistant, making it ideal for toys. HDPE is also great for chemical containers, such as laundry, shampoo, conditioner, motor oil, antifreeze, and recycling bins. For piping and outdoor applications, HDPE pipe grade sheet is used due to its increased molecular weight and UV-resistance, as well as its ability to withstand temperatures from -220 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it ideal for many industrial applications.

Is HDPE a Good Plastic?

HDPE plastic is considered to be one of the most environmentally sound plastics available. It doesn't release any harmful fumes into the environment, and requires much less energy to produce than other materials such as steel from iron ore. Therefore, it is considered an Eco-friendly choice for many applications.

Is HDPE the Same as Plastic?

HDPE is a durable and strong plastic material, often utilized to create containers such as milk and water jugs. Its strength is such that a 60g jug can hold a full gallon of liquid without becoming distorted in shape. HDPE is distinct from other plastics and has many unique benefits.

What material is HDPE?

HDPE stands for High Density Polyethylene, which is a type of thermoplastic made from a string of ethylene molecules. It is known for its light weight and strength, and is commonly referred to as HDPE sheet plastic.

Is HDPE as strong as steel?

One may ask if HDPE is as strong as steel, to which the answer is no. While HDPE has an impressive ultimate tensile strength of 4,600 psi, Grade 304 stainless steel has an ultimate tensile strength of 73,200 psi. As such, steel is significantly stronger than HDPE when it comes to resistance to impacts and heavy loads.

How long will HDPE last?

The typical benchmark for HDPE life expectancy is 50 years; however, per the Plastics Pipe Institute, HDPE pipe used in municipal potable water systems can have a lifespan of over 100 years.

Do you want to learn more?

Click for pricing/ info




Tags: HDPE, Uses for HDPE

Polypropylene- Is it different from HDPE?

Posted by The Plastic Sheeting Gurus! on Tue, May 17, 2016 @ 02:45

polypropylene- Is it different from HDPE? Yes it is.  To begin with, polypropylene is also called, "polypropene".  it is a thermoplast polymer which is made from a monomer called propylene.  Like HDPE it has a wide variety of applications such as packaging, labeling, textiles, ropes, stationery, automotive components and more.  Like HDPE it is rugged and usually resists man chemical solvents and acids.  

Density Differences:

Several things differentiate polypropylene from HDPE.  Density is the first factor.  The density of polypropylene is between 0.895 and 0.92 g/cm².  High Density Polyethylene  is known for it's big strength-to-density ratio.  The density of HDPE can range from 0.93 to 0.97 g/cm³.  HDPE can be more rigid as a result.  polypropylene, because of its lower density is used for molding parts with lower weight and more parts of a certain mass of plastic can be produced.

Temperature Differences:

HDPE has a working temperature of 212 degrees F to 200 degrees F. Polypropylene has a melting point between 266 degrees F to 340 degrees F.

U.V. and Chemical Resistance

Polypropylene has good chemical resistance like HDPE but it has poor UV resistance -unless it is stabilized with additives.  HDPE is resistant to many different solvents and has a wide variety of applications. It protects the environment by forming a chemical-resistant barrier to prevent the pollution of soil and groundwater by the liquid constituents of solid waste.

A lot has been written about both HDPE and Polypropylene. Please visit the web to learn more about these very versatile plastics.


Click for pricing/ infoClick HERE to visit the resource page to visit the applications pages for
*Plastic Sheeting -  thickness for what application
*  Tapes- thicknesses and applications

*  Enka Products applications and options
and many more products.
Search for Fire Retardant films, tapes, greenhouse plastic


Tags: HDPE

Plastic Sheeting Stars of the Show!

Posted by Nana Hinsley on Fri, Jul 12, 2013 @ 12:14

The types of plastic sheeting presented below are "stars of the show" due to their usage. In its simplest terms, the main difference between the different types of plastic is the way their cellular structure, or molecules bond with each other, and how tightly they are formed.

  • 1) Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), most common type of plastic sheeting, very flexible, most often from 0.5 mil thick to about 40 mil in flexible sheeting forms. Good conformability to surfaces. Because the cell structure is not as strong or dense as some other types of plastic sheeting, it is not typically as strong or puncture resistant as other forms or blends, but has thousands of common uses. Widely used for everything from construction and agricultural sheeting (often called Visqueen), Engineered Plastic Sheeting of countless types for such things as Vapor Retarders (also called Vapor Barriers by many), Surface Protection films, Pond and Canal Liners, Covers, Tarps, Abatement Plastic, Containment, packaging, and the list goes on.
  • 2) Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE), blended form of LDPE where the film has much more flexibility, tensile strength, and more conformability. LLDPE is "softer" and more pliable, so is an excellent choice for such things as pond liners, or blended into other films to give them extra strength and flexibility. This is perfect for an application like a self-adhesive carpet protection film, where the film needs to have an amazing amount of strength in a very thin film to absorb impacts, but not tear or puncture. In this form of poly, the molecules all line up and strongly hold together as the film is stretched to give the structure much more strength and elongation than LDPE. Most common in thicknesses ranging from 0.5 mil to 40 mil in flexible plastic sheeting.
  • 3) Medium Density Polyethylene (MDPE), the least commonly used form of polyethylene for flexible plastic sheeting. Has more strength than LDPE, a little more chemical resistance, tighter cell structure, more puncture and tear resistance. Often blended with LDPE and or LLDPE to give the attributes one is looking for in a particular type of film. For instance, many pond liners have MDPE to add some strength and toughness, without adding too much stiffness.
  • 4) High Density Polyethylene (HDPE, aka HD), widely used for many applications. HDPE is the strongest, toughest, most chemical resistant, and least flexible of these four types of polyethylene. It also has the most UV resistance of the bunch without additive packages to increase this attribute. HDPE has a very tight cell structure, making it very difficult for other molecules to pass through its structure on a microscopic level. HDPE is the most easily field seamed of these products, and is generally used on an industrial level in thicknesses from about 12 mil to 100 mil thick. Most golf course ponds are lined with HDPE, most industrial ponds and canal liners, secondary containment liners, root barriers, many applications where chemical resistance is needed. This is also used in thousands or maybe millions of applications in thinner forms, especially in blends with the other types of polyethylene, because the HDPE adds much strength and toughness with its very tight bonds with other molecules.

The density of polyethylene is measured in a column of water, and they are all classified depending on ranges of density.  LDPE (and LLDPE) are generally within the range of 0.919-0.924 g/cm³. MDPE are generally within the range of 0.926-0.940 g/cm³.  HDPE are generally within the range of 0.941-0.965 g/cm³.  These numbers can vary slightly depending on your source, and are not set in stone, just general guidelines.


Click for pricing/ info Search for Greenhouse Plastic, tapes, fire retardant films, plastic sheeting Home page plastic sheeting, tapes, strapping fire retardant films greenhouse plastic HDPE/ LLDPE Application Chart




Tags: LLDPE, HDPE, Plastic sheeting. LDPE Plastic Sheeting, MDPE