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High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

HDPE is a thermoplastic, further classified as a polyethylene plastic.

The properties of HDPE include three common variations. This page shows summary ranges across all of them. For more specific values, follow the links immediately below. The graph bars on the material properties cards further below compare HDPE to: polyethylene plastics (top), all thermoplastics (middle), and the entire database (bottom). A full bar means this is the highest value in the relevant set. A half-full bar means it's 50% of the highest, and so on.

Mechanical Properties

Elongation at Break

2.5 to 100 %

Flexural Modulus

4.0 to 7.5 GPa 0.58 to 1.1 x 106 psi

Impact Strength: Notched Izod

50 to 260 J/m 0.94 to 4.8 ft-lb/in

Tensile Strength: Ultimate (UTS)

24 to 80 MPa 3.4 to 12 x 103 psi

Thermal Properties

Maximum Temperature: Mechanical

90 °C 190 °F

Specific Heat Capacity

1330 to 2400 J/kg-K 0.32 to 0.57 BTU/lb-°F

Otherwise Unclassified Properties


1.0 to 1.3 g/cm3 59 to 79 lb/ft3

Water Absorption At Saturation

0.1 to 0.3 %

Common Calculations

Strength to Weight: Axial

6.9 to 17 points

Strength to Weight: Bending

19 to 32 points

Followup Questions

Further Reading

ASTM D883: Standard Terminology Relating to Plastics

Reinforced Plastics Durability, Geoffrey Pritchard (editor), 1999

SPI Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., 5th ed., Michael L. Berins (editor), 2000

Modern Plastics Handbook, Charles A. Harper (editor), 1999

Plastics Materials, 7th ed., J. A. Brydson, 1999