Discovered in the 1930’s, polyethylene has long been recognized as an engineering plastic that exhibits a high degree of inertness. This makes it attractive for use in markets such as food and beverage, laboratories, and chemical processing where leaching or permeability presents risks. Polyethylene is also a lower-cost plastic material and satisfies many requirements that call for inexpensive, lightweight tubing. It handles a wide variety of applications ranging from potable water feeds to pneumatic lines used in instrumentation.
There are several categories of polyethylene, and each has its own commercial applications. Examples are low density polyethylene (LDPE) commonly used for plastic bags and certain rigid containers, high density polyethylene (HDPE) for milk jugs and detergent bottles, and ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) for artificial joints. HDPE and LDPE are recyclable and noted by the standard recycle symbols found on the bottoms of containers (HDPE is number 2, LDPE is number 4).
NewAge Industries’ polyethylene tubing, Zelite, is a linear low density formulation (LLDPE), which has a higher tensile strength than low density and better resistance to stress cracking. An alternative is polyethylene-lined EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) tubing, a co-extruded product. The inner core of polyethylene is extruded first, then farther down the production line, EVA is extruded around the inner core. Polyethylene-lined EVA is typically applied where different performance requirements for the inside and the outside of the tube are needed (purity inside, flexibility outside).
Click to view NewAge Industries’ polyethylene tubing options and Thermobarb® polyethylene barbed fittings.
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