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Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

LDPE is a thermoplastic, further classified as a polyethylene plastic. It has a very low tensile strength among thermoplastics. In addition, it has a moderately high heat capacity and a fairly low density. The graph bars on the material properties cards below compare LDPE 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

Elastic (Young's, Tensile) Modulus

0.3 GPa 0.044 x 106 psi

Shear Modulus

0.21 GPa 0.030 x 106 psi

Tensile Strength: Ultimate (UTS)

7.0 MPa 1.0 x 103 psi

Thermal Properties

Glass Transition Temperature

-130 °C -190 °F

Maximum Temperature: Autoignition

380 °C 710 °F

Maximum Temperature: Decomposition

400 °C 750 °F

Melting Onset (Solidus)

110 °C 230 °F

Specific Heat Capacity

2300 J/kg-K 0.55 BTU/lb-°F

Thermal Conductivity

0.36 W/m-K 0.21 BTU/h-ft-°F

Thermal Expansion

220 µm/m-K

Vicat Softening Temperature

50 °C 120 °F

Other Material Properties


0.92 g/cm3 57 lb/ft3

Dielectric Constant (Relative Permittivity) At 1 Hz


Common Calculations

Stiffness to Weight: Axial

0.18 points

Stiffness to Weight: Bending

24 points

Strength to Weight: Axial

2.1 points

Strength to Weight: Bending

8.8 points

Thermal Diffusivity

0.17 mm2/s

Thermal Shock Resistance

7.6 points

Followup Questions

Further Reading

ASTM D883: Standard Terminology Relating to Plastics

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