Polyethylene or Polythene is the most common plastic in use today, with roughly 80 million tonnes being produced annually. Polyethylene can be created in different formats using its components–ethylene polymer units. The material’s structure is determined by the amount of branching of the ethylene polymer units on a main chain. The lesser the branching, the higher the density and strength of the material. Typical nomenclature for polyethylene (PE) includes low density PE (LDPE), medium density PE (MDPE), high density PE (HDPE), and ultra high molecular weight PE (UHMWPE).
The most prominent use for Polyethylene is in packaging (plastic bags and films, geo-membranes, containers etc.) The material is thermoplastic in nature, however it can be modified to become a thermoset plastic, as in the case of cross-linked polyethylene.