Usage and Types of Polyethylene Foam
In addition to polystyrene and polyurethane foams, closed cell polyethylene foam is one of the most commonly used foams in industry. It can be used in a number of ways:
- as an insulating material
- as sports equipment
- as an automotive product
- as packaging material
- and even in the footwear industry.
What does PE mean?
PE stands for polyethylene. What do we need to know about this material? Its chemical formula is (C2H4)n, i.e. this is a carbon- and hydrogen-based material. Polyethylene foam is a closed cell solid material and is foamed with gas. Each gas phase is separated by a layer, which yield the cells. Closed cell cross-linked polyethylene foam is the sum of these cells.
Cross-linked PE foam is flexible and absorbs vibrations thanks to the structure of the foaming material. Its thickness (4-500 mm) and density (approx. 0.03 – 0.2 g/cm3) are variable, and it is a lightweight material (up to 30 times lighter than water).
Polyethylene foam is environmentally and skin-friendly, and harmless to the human body.
Polyethylene belongs to the family of polyolefins in addition to polypropylene.
Extruded (coarse cell, snow white) polyethylene foam
This foam type is used mainly as packaging material, and is recyclable. It is a very light, yet durable material that protects wrapped surfaces. It exists in blown and laminated variants. Closed cell polyethylene but not crosslinked PE foam.
Use: as packaging material
Closed cell cross-linked PE foam
A chemical cross-linked foam forms a resistant surface. Cross-linked closed cell polyethylene foam means that during cross-linking, the molecules connect by chemical bonds, forming a structure branched from the straight carbon chain, thus creating a more durable structure. The fineness of the cellular structure gives the material even greater stability.
It is also available in fire retardant and conductive variants: the cross-linked polyethylene foam is much more widely used than extruded PE foam. This is also due to the fact that it withstands the rigours of weather, and the cross-linked foam does not react with most chemicals, and is not vapour-permeable. Thus, it can be used to produce a durable insulating material, as it is not consumed by insects or rodents. Its vibration damping effect is particularly high.
- as a polyolefin insulation material in the automotive industry, mechanical engineering and architecture (due to its good heat, water and sound insulation)
- due to its vibration damping and absorbing effect, it is also be used to make mattresses and shoe soles
Bio-based cross-linked polyethylene foam
TR-EECell is a bio-based cross-linked polyethylene foam, which is made almost entirely from raw material obtained from biomass (sugar cane). The advantages of the technology are that the obtained polyethylene closed cell foam sheets
- are environmentally friendly to produce
- have a high performance
- are versatile: their applications are the same as those of the traditional PE foam.
The price of polyethylene foam
The price of PE chemical foam is dependent on the following factors:
- foam thickness
- foam density
- shape and size
- self-adhesive or non-self-adhesive
- fire resistance
The foam we produce
At our manufacturing plants located in Germany, Italy, Hungary, Spain and Malaysia, we produce cross-linked polyolefin foam sheets. As polyolefin foam suppliers, our products are used in various industries such as automotive, production of construction and insulation materials, leisure and professional sports equipment, self-adhesive foams, and in the footwear and packaging industry.
Even though we are active in such diverse areas, our solutions are all based on the same principles: lightweight products, environmentally friendly processes, high quality, consistent performance and simplicity.
The foaming material
Chemical cross-linked foams
Closed cell cross-linked polyethylene foam is manufactured horizontally and in continuous technology
Physical cross-linked foams
Cross-linked by physical irradiation
Various lamination processes