HDPE is a hard polyethylene used in many products. But where do you recognise the material from? What properties does it have and what are common applications for it? We would like to share some more about the possibilities of HDPE.
What is HDPE?
HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) is a technical plastic. So it is not produced for aesthetic use, but for technical applications. This material has a very high molecular density, which means HDPE is harder than other types of polyethylene. Its greater rigidity also makes it more durable. HDPE sheets are not coated with a protective film, because it hardly matters how the material looks.
In practice, HDPE is a multifunctional material. It can withstand a lot, and is the perfect choice for a damp or dirty environment. HDPE can withstand heavy compression and impactful forces. The material is very suitable for applications where it must be resistant to wear and tear, or where contact with chemicals may occur.
Applications of HDPE
HDPE is ideal for outdoor and industrial applications. HDPE sheets are often used to cover large surfaces. Think of the bottom panel of a trailer, or the side walls of a swimming pool. It is also possible to weld these sheets together, which makes them, amongst other things, very suitable for ponds and basins. HDPE sheets are also often used in playground equipment, because of their wear resistance. HDPE is highly valued in industry, because it can be cleaned hygienically, it is also extremely durable, dirt repellent and resistant to moisture and chemicals.
The specific properties of HDPE make the material suitable for:
- Storage applications, such as chemical storage
- Street furniture, such as playground equipment
- Water applications, such as a pond
- Industry, such as conveyor belt components
- Sports, such as a hockey goal
Advantages and disadvantages of HDPE
HDPE’s many compelling properties lead to a number of advantages and a single disadvantage. We briefly highlight the most important 3 properties with their advantages and disadvantages:
✓ Wear resistant
This is mainly due to the material’s high molecular density, i.e. it has long molecular chains. Even if the material is repeatedly stressed, it retains its long service-life. Think of moving parts in a machine. Or in a production environment where products are pushed across a panel day after day.
HDPE is easy to keep clean, thanks to its high chemical resistance and the fact that bacteria hardly sticks to the material. This can be a godsend in the food industry, where machine parts are cleaned with chemicals every day. Dirt will also not be able to accumulate easily.
✓ Impact resistant
HDPE is tough, it does not break, but moves with you. This material can therefore absorb shocks and impacts well, and can even cope easily with heavy loads. This is important for machine parts that need to withstand rough handling. HDPE will absorb the blows and bounce back, as long as the maximum load is not exceeded. That load (yield strength) is specified in stress per surface area.
Properties of HDPE
HDPE is a strong material that bends and deforms without breaking. It is relatively flexible and very suitable for long-term use, because it is also abrasion, impact and moisture resistant. It is also highly resistant to UV radiation and most chemicals. Bacteria and dirt do not easily adhere to this type of polyethylene. This makes it difficult to glue or stick HDPE. Because HDPE sheets do not have a protective film, they can be scratched. Like polyethylene, HDPE is also thermoplastic, so you can melt and remould it several times.
How do I order cut-to-size HDPE sheets?
We offer a wide range of affordable HDPE sheets. These sheets are available in thicknesses from 3 to 20 mm, which can all be easily machined. In fact, you can order them in any shape and size you want, which means you don’t have to cut anything to size yourself.