519 767 2899


Properties of Polyethylene Foam

June 06, 2016

Polyethylene foam is used the world over due to its usefulness as a packaging material. Shipping and handling industries rely on polyethylene for the safe transport of goods. It is critical to take good care when transporting fragile goods. It could mean the difference between a success and damaged product. Polyethylene foam is a resilient, durable and lightweight material used for packaging fragile objects during transportation because of its insulation and vibration-dampening properties. It also gives high resistance to moisture and chemicals, and has high load-bearing features that aids in reducing packaging costs by manufacturers because smaller and thinner amounts of foam can be used and still provide protection.

Polyethylene foam has distinct chemical, mechanical, thermal and optical properties which define its usefulness in different applications:

Thermal properties

Polyethylene foam has a melting point of 80 degrees Celsius. The melting point of high density polyethylene ranges between 120 to 180 degrees Celsius, however thermal properties vary with the type of polyethylene used.

Chemical properties

The chemical properties of polyethylene foam are similar to that of paraffin. Most polyethylene types cannot be attacked by strong acids or bases. They are also resistant to reducing agents and gentle oxidants. Polyethylene can dissolve in aromatic hydrocarbon at high temperatures. Crystalline samples do not dissolve at room temperature.

Mechanical properties

Some outstanding mechanical properties of polyethylene foam include high ductility, impact strength, and low friction. Polyethylene also shows strong variation or deviation under continuous force but addition of short fibers can reduce this deviation.

Optical properties

Polyethylene foam can be translucent, transparent, or opaque, depending on the film thickness and thermal history. The size of the crystals reduces transparency. Polyethylene LD typically has the largest transparency.

Alcot Plastics can recommend the best and high quality foam materials for a unique packaging depending on your application.