What is polyethylene wax?
Wax is basically a variety of organic materials that are solid at room temperature, but when they are exposed to higher temperatures, they become liquid.Polyethylene Wax, also known as PE Wax, is an ultra low molecular weight polyethylene consisting of ethylene monomer chains. PE wax has a large variety of uses and applications. PE Wax is available from on-purpose production and as a byproduct of polyethylene production. This material is available in both HDPE and LDPE forms. At room temperatures it is insoluble in organic solvents, but at higher temperatures it is soluble in aliphatics, chlorine hydrocarbons, and most non-polar solvents.
Polyethylene Wax Properties and Features
PE wax is derived from ethylene through a process called polymerization . Manufacturers alter the polymerization process to get a product with desired qualities.
As a completely saturated ethylene homopolymer, polyethylene wax is linear and crystalline. That is why this material finds applications such as blends, plastic additives and rubber manufacture. Due to its high crystalline nature, this material has unique features such as hardness at high temperatures and low solubility in a wide range of solvents.
The material is a Thermoplastic that melts at 110°C. An interesting feature of these materials is the ability to be heated and cooled without extensive degradation.
Polyethylene wax also features limited poly disparity and molecular weight. Consequently, the material is highly resistant to chemical attacks, has unmatched heat stability and is very flexible in formulating applications.this material can work as a mould release agent, dispersant and modifier for plastic.
Polyethylene wax application
Polyethylene waxes have very unique polymer properties that make them useful in many applications. The major functions of PE wax in many formulations are to either provide lubrication and/or provide physical modification of a formula by changing viscosity and / or melt point.
Polyethylene wax increase inorganic and organic pigment dispersion in
matrix polymer during masterbach processing. Also, PE wax helps granule produce by decrease softening point of system.
Polyethylene wax is very good external lubricant for PVC. When PE wax use in PVC application, final produce face has been shine. Using this material during the extrusion process would increase the production rate by about 30%.
Polyethylene wax using decrease the friction so increase the extrusion capacity.
Polyethylene wax using doesn’t change the product color because PE wax has got good oxidation resistance.
Polyethylene wax doesn’t have a bad effect product’s heat and light stability because pe wax doesn’t include catalizors remnant.
Polyethylene wax increase last product’s light stability.
Polyethylene wax hasn’t got toxic materials so PE wax can be use food packaging applications.
Polyethylene wax use hot melt application.
E914 - Oxidised polyethylene wax : E 914 is authorised at quantum satis only for the surface treatment of some fruits. The Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) evaluated the use of OPEW as a food additive.
Here is a summary of the characteristics of PE wax:
- High softening point
- High melting point
- Excellent thermal stability
- High chemical resistance
- Highly compatible with wax varieties
- Perfect lubrication
- Perfect head resistance
Differences between polyethylene waxes type
There are three major characteristics that differentiate one PE wax from another. I) Molecular weight
II) Degree and length of polymer branching
III) Monomer / polymer composition.
Changing any of these factors will alter the physical characteristics of the polyethylene wax, such as viscosity, hardness, melt point, reactivity etc.
Identifying PE Wax
Polyethylene wax can be either low density polyethylene (LDPE) or high density polyethylene HDPE . Generally, HDPE tends to be more dense and crystalline, so you could distinguish the two if you have a way of determining these properties.
Nevertheless, you can use various methods to identify PE wax from other materials; sight, touch, smell etc. This wax is similar to plastic sheets. It is a semi-translucent yellow material. It has a gloss surface. If you cut the material, there are neither impurities nor any separation.
The material has lubricant properties, which you can feel by touch. At room temperature, PE wax is brittle and fragile. This is unlike a fake version, which is rough and greasy.
If you want to test the material, consider boiling it in water for five minutes. Real PE wax does not change in shape. If the wax contains paraffin or any other impurity, you will know it through shape change.
PE wax is heat-stable, lowly soluble, chemically resistant and hard. Combining these features with abrasion resistance and broad melting points makes the material the undisputable choice for a wide range of industrial applications. Whether you want to process rubber, manufacture textiles, modifier plastic or coat corrugated board.