Expanded Polyethylene (PE, EPE expanded)
DescriptionExpanded polyethylene (EPE) is only produced as foam. Similar to EPS (expanded polystyrene) it has a spherical structure. However, EPE is less common, it has become commercially available much later. It feels waxy and can smell of old Tupperware or old plastic bags upon ageing.
HistoryExpanded PE foam is commercially available since 1980.
Production, Application, AppearanceExpanded PE foam is produced usually in ~15 cm thick sheets. It is used in the automotive industry, as packaging material, and for example as foam rolls.
Density: foam: ~0.02-0.045 g/cm3
Melting point: 99-138°C
Glass transition temperature: -59 to -133°C
Identification propertiesCell structure (foam): spherical
Smell: old Tupperware or old plastic bags
Sound: foam = no characteristic sound
UV-radiation (when clear): not applicable
Polarizing filters (for clear PE): not applicable
ProcessPhoto-oxidation, soiling (electrostatic).
DetailsPE, EPE expanded is not considered a problem plastic.
SymptomsDiscolouration, surface turns matte, loss of mechanical properties resulting in tears and fractures, dimensional changes.
RecommendationsUV-RADIATION: keep below 10 µW/lm Exclude UV with filters or no-UV light source
LIGHT: 1 just noticeable change in approx. 30 Mlx.h Moderate light dose - control intensity and exposure time
OXYGEN / OZONE: lower temperature slows down oxidation
TEMP: common indoor conditions 10-30°C
RH: common indoor conditions 30-70% RH fluctuations: setpoint ±20%
Am I dealing with...
- Closed cell structure
- Waxy feeling
- Ball structure