What is Polyethylene

Polyethylene is a one type of thermoplastic polymer. Specialty of this type of polymer is that it can be remolded. Now a day we can experience the increasing use of this polyethylene as polythene in the packaging industry. The IUPAC name of this thermoplastic polymer is polyethene or poly (methylene). Polyethylene can be created from the molecules which have the long chain of ethylene. This type of monomer, ethylene, can make a double-bond with such a monomer which has a carbon base which in turn form the polymer like polyethylene. Polymerization of the ethane can create the polyethylene. There are several types of polymerization through which polyethylene is obtainable and these varieties include:

  • Polymerization of ion coordination.
  • Polymerization of anionic addition.
  • Radical polymerization.
  • Polymerization of cationic addition.

Hans Von Pechmann, German chemist, accidentally invented this type of thermoplastic polymer in the year of 1898 that was the first time laboratory invention. After that incident long year later in 1939 first production of the polyethylene was made.

Common uses of polyethylene-

After the year of 1939 polyethylene was getting recognized by its huge uses in the plastic industry and common people are getting introduced with the essential uses of this type of thermoplastic polymer in our everyday life such as,

  • Milk containers.
  • Shampoo bottles.
  • Food wrapper.
  • Plastic bags.
  • Toys and many more house hold appliances.

Uses for making essential products-

Though apart from this daily uses, polyethylene are also getting used in many other important manufacturing products such as,

  • Bulletproof jacket.
  • Glossy flooring for the purpose of ice skating.
  • Parts of hip replacement.
  • Aircraft knee and many more.

Classification of the polyethylene-

       Depending upon the branching and the density of the polyethylene this type of thermoplastic polymer can be classified in many different categories, these are,

  •  ULMWPE or PE-WAX (Ultra low molecular weight polyethylene )
  •  HDXLPE (High density cross-linked polyethylene)
  • UHMWPE (Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene)
  • HDPE (High density polyethylene)
  • PEX or XLPE (Cross-linked polyethylene)
  • HMWPE (High molecular weight polyethylene)
  • LLDPE (Linear low density polyethylene)
  • MDPE (Medium density polyethylene)
  • VLDPE (Very low density polyethylene)
  • LDPE (Low density polyethylene )

As we can see that there are several uses of the polyethylene but apart from that there are few concerns which are causing a serious effect on the environment. We all have to take care of this environmental factor. As this type of polymer is not very environment friendly as they are very much reluctant towards the biodegrade process, they can sustain in their form for hundreds of years. Therefore scientists are working towards making a special kind of aerobic bacteria which will boost up the biodegrading process of this type of thermoplastic polymer to just a few months and also working towards the development of the bioplastics by synthesizing this type of thermoplastic polymer from the ethanol which can be obtained through sugarcane.

All these are the main features of the polyethylene or polythene.

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