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Related to polyethylene: polypropylene, Polyethylene terephthalate


(pŏl'ēĕth`əlēn), widely used plasticplastic,
any organic material with the ability to flow into a desired shape when heat and pressure are applied to it and to retain the shape when they are withdrawn. Composition and Types of Plastic
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. It is a polymerpolymer
, chemical compound with high molecular weight consisting of a number of structural units linked together by covalent bonds (see chemical bond). The simple molecules that may become structural units are themselves called monomers; two monomers combine to form a dimer,
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 of ethyleneethylene
or ethene
, H2C=CH2, a gaseous unsaturated hydrocarbon. It is the simplest alkene. Ethylene is colorless, has a faint odor, and has a slightly sweet taste; it melts at −169.4°C; and boils at −103.8°C;.
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, CH2=CH2, having the formula (-CH2-CH2-)n, and is produced at high pressures and temperatures in the presence of any one of several catalystscatalyst,
substance that can cause a change in the rate of a chemical reaction without itself being consumed in the reaction; the changing of the reaction rate by use of a catalyst is called catalysis.
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, depending on the desired properties for the finished product. Polyethylene is resistant to water, acids, alkalies, and most solvents. Its many applications include films or sheets for packaging, shower curtains, unbreakable bottles, pipes, pails, drinking glasses, and insulation for wire and cable.
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A tough, light, flexible thermoplastic used in the form of sheeting and film for packaging, damp-proofing, and as a vapor barrier.
See also: Plexiglas
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



[—CH2—CH2—]n, a white thermoplastic polymer. It is produced industrially by polymerization of ethylene at high pressure (low-density polyethylene) or at low or medium pressure (high-density polyethylene).

The structure and properties of polyethylene are determined by the method of preparation. The average molecular weight of the most common brands is 30,000–800,000; crystallinity and density at 20°C are 50 percent and 0.918–0.930 g/cm3, respectively, for low-density polyethylene and 75–90 percent and 0.955–0.968 g/cm3 for high-density polyethylene. An increase in density is accompanied by an increase in hardness, modulus of bending resilience, yield point, and chemical stability. Polyethylene combines high tensile strength (10–45 meganewtons per sq m, or 100–450 kilograms-force per sq cm) with elasticity (ultimate elongation, 500–1,000 percent), and it has good electrical insulation properties (loss tangent, 2 × 10–4 to 4 × 10–4 at –120° to 120°C and 10–50 kilohertz). It is resistant to alkalies in any concentration, and also to organic acids, concentrated hydrochloric, and hydrofluoric acids, but it is attacked by nitric acid, chlorine, and fluorine. At temperatures above 80°C, it is soluble in aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons and their halogen derivatives. It is relatively stable upon exposure to radioactive emissions, and it is harmless. Its working temperature range is between –80°–120° to 60°–100°C.

Polyethylene is one of the least expensive polymers, combining valuable properties with workability by all known high-productivity methods used for thermoplasts. It is first among polymer plastics in world production.

Polyethylene is used to make films, pipes (including pipes for sewage and aggressive liquids, and also mains), sectional products, insulation for wires and cables, containers (large bottles, canisters, and tanks), electrolytic baths, sanitary products, and fibers; it is also widely used in engineering and agriculture, as well as domestically. Low-density polyethylene has become the most widespread. Products manufactured by means of chlorina-tion and sulfochlorination of polyethylene have also acquired commercial importance.

Polyethylene is manufactured in the USSR (high-density, or low-pressure, and low-density, or high-pressure, polyethylene) and abroad. Foreign brands of high-density polyethylene include Marlex (USA), Hostalen and Vestolen (Federal Republic of Germany), Hi-Zex (Japan), and Eltex (Italy). Foreign low-density brands include Bakelite and Alathon (USA), Alkathene (Great Britain), and Lupolen (Federal Republic of Germany). World production of polyethylene in 1973 was about 10 million tons.


See references under .


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(organic chemistry)
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A thermoplastic material often used in electrical insulation or in sheet form for dampproofing.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
"In Asia, China, with its huge population and growing economy, is expected to continue to rise in polyethylene demand.
This is what companies such as Matrix Polymers are now actively trying to change, by adapting other polymers so that they can work with rotational molding just as easily as polyethylene does.
Polyethylene Furanoate (PEF) Market Size and Forecast for the Period 2014-2022
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Jokar, the use of polyethylene glycol as compatibilizer in an industrial method in order to homogenously distribute nanoparticles in the polymeric bed and the use of molten mixing industrial method to inject nanoparticles into the polymer are among the innovative specifications of the research.
On November 6, 2012, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Abdolhossein Bayat announced that the Oil Ministry had lifted the ban on the export of seven petrochemicals -- benzene, styrene monomer, caustic soda, linear alkyl benzene (LAB), melamine crystal, premature ventricular contraction (PVC), and polyethylene. Bayat added that Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi had also issued an order detailing new regulations for petrochemical exports.
pr@freedoniagroup.com PLASTIC FILM DEMAND (million pounds) % Annual Growth 2006- 2011- Item 2006 2011 2016 2011 2016 Plastic Film Demand 14230 14470 15850 0.3 1.8 Linear Low Density Polyethylene 6401 6784 7520 1.2 2.1 High Density Polyethylene 2392 2345 2520 -0.4 1.4 Low Density Polyethylene 2268 2150 2340 -1.1 1.7 Polypropylene 1249 1470 1640 3.3 2.2 Other 1920 1721 1830 -2.2 1.2
He says the polyethylene plant 3 is expected to produce around 300,000 mtpy of low-density polyethylene.
(6) Earlier generation polyethylene bearings had high wear rates, often leading to osteolysis.
"Production of low-density polyethylene would be raised to 700,000 metric tonnes per annum (mtpa) from the present 400,000 (mtpa) once the new polyethylene plant (3), becomes fully operational next year," al Mulla said at a function.