High Density Polyethylene Uses

Updated July 20, 2017

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is a plastic polymer made from petroleum. It was invented by the German chemists Karl Ziegler and Erhard Holzkamp at the Max Planck Institute in 1953. They won a Nobel Prize for their invention. HDPE is a highly crystalline polymer resin known for its high tensile strength, flexibility, and hardness. It is also known for its very strong corrosion resistance, which is significantly superior to metals and other plastic products. The above mentioned properties are responsible for the extensive use of HDPE in various industries worldwide.

HDPE Pipes

The first HDPE pipes were manufactured in 1955. Since then, HDPE pipe products have come to dominate the pipe industry in a big way. Thanks to its flexibility and high tensile strength, HDPE can be easily extruded to make strong, durable pipes of various shapes and sizes. HDPE pipes also have very high corrosion resistance and are largely unaffected by strong effluents and corrosive gases. As a result, HDPE pipes are frequently used as pipes for water supply, irrigation, natural gas, corrugated pipes for drains and sewers, and as conduits for electrical and telecommunication cables. HDPE pipes are also used for ducting purposes in air conditioners and refrigeration systems.

Packaging and Storage

HDPE can be blow-moulded into almost any shape. The end product is extremely strong and durable. As a result, HDPE is widely used to make packaging for a large variety of everyday products like bottles for milk and other carbonated and non-carbonated drinks, containers for laundry detergents, shampoo, and other household cosmetics and chemicals. HDPE is also used to make large industrial containers, drums to store various chemicals, and fuel tanks for vehicles. Almost one-third of worldwide HDPE production is utilised by the packaging and storage industries.

Other Uses

HDPE is also used to make low-cost, durable furniture (plastic chairs and tables) and toys. It is also added to steel pipes to provide a higher level of corrosion resistance.

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About the Author

Michael Gunderson has been writing professionally since 2005. He is an independent film writer and director with several projects in the works. He has written for the comedy troupe "The Brothel" and produced his own television pilot, "Dingleberry." He has a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting from the American Film Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from New York University.