Polymer Chemistry

Polymers in and Around You

What is LDPE (low-density polyethylene)?

If the density of a polyethylene is between 0.91 to 0.94 g/cm3 (yes, there’s a little overlap in these ranges) it’s called low-density polyethylene. To get to this density, the polyethylene chains have more branching than in HDPE but still only a few percent of the atoms along an entire chain. These branches prevent the chains from stacking together quite as well, which makes the material softer and more flexible. With those properties, LDPE finds use as trash, grocery, and sandwich bags, and that “clingy” food wrap (although the original Saran® Wrap was not LDPE—see below).



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