What Is Polythene Used For?

polythene-used Credit: paddy patterson/CC-BY 2.0

Polythene is mostly used for folios or films, pipes, hoses and household articles, according to the Kemi Swedish Chemicals Agency. It is also used to coat paper, which is then rendered a waterproof surface. It acts as the binder in paints and adhesives, and it makes up the remaining coating.

Polythene is also used as wax in polish, says the Kemi Swedish Chemicals Agency. Moreover, packaging made of Low Density Poly Ethene film is recycled and used for carrier and garbage bags. LDPE is manufactured at high pressure. The ethene molecules contain plenty of energy and move vigorously, resulting in polymer chains rich in branching and too bulky to be tightly packed. LDPE is thus soft and well suited for manufacturing packaging films, hoses and soft tubes.

Polythene is a white, waxy polymer composed of carbon and hydrogen. It is a plastic that burns well, is not insoluble in water and many organic solvents, and does not conduct electricity. It is also a thermoplastic and melts when heated, so it is easy to remodel. It is made by cracking or decomposing petroleum distillates into tiny, reactive ethane molecules which can be rearranged. These molecules polymerize to long chains of polythene that are maintained close to one another through weak bonds to form a material comparable with the fibers of a felt.