Structural Foam Polyethylene: Properties and Products

Polyethylene is a polymer commonly used in structural foam molding due to its various beneficial properties. Due to its affordability, easy availability, and numerous beneficial properties, this polymer is the most common type of consumer plastic and is used in everyday materials and products.

Properties of Structural Foam Polyethylene

Chemical Resistance

Polyethylene is resistant to many different chemical solvents, making it good for use in chemical, medical, automotive, and many other applications. This polymer is not affected by aqueous solutions of salts, acids, or alkalis.

Wear Resistance

Structural foam polyethylene is an extremely durable, high strength polymer, giving it the ability to be used in many applications in harsh environments. It is able to withstand harsh temperatures or applications in which the product may be subjected to physical stress.

Water Resistance

Since its molecules are so close together, polyethylene is very resistant to water. The material hardly absorbs any water, making it good for use in the food and beverage industry.

Electrical Insulation

Structural foam polyethylene does not conduct electricity well, making it a good insulator. So, if a durable plastic is needed for an application where conductivity is not required nor needed, polyethylene is a great option.

Good Physical Properties

In addition to all of its other great properties, polyethylene also has good load-bearing and shock absorption. These properties eliminate the impacts of friction and vibration on your product.

High-Density Polyethylene Also Offers Many Benefits

In addition to traditional polyethylene, you can also opt for High-Density Polyethylene, or HDPE. When compared to traditional polyethylene, HDPE is more flexible, but offers many of the same benefits, including:

  • Weatherproof
  • Affordable
  • Chemical resistance
  • Low moisture absorption
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Easy to fabricate and machine

Products That Are Created Using Structural Foam Polyethylene

Automotive Applications

With its corrosion resistance, wear resistance, shock absorption, and good load-bearing, polyethylene and HDPE are commonly used in the automotive industry. Common applications include bumpers and instrument panels.

Drain Pipes and Trench Drains

Drain pipes are responsible for facilitating the transfer of water from one place to another. This includes disposing of wastewater from buildings. Trench drains function in a similar way, however, they are responsible for the removal of excess surface water. Both drain pipes and trench drains can be created from HDPE and polyethylene.

At Port Erie, we helped one of our customers improve the manufacturing process for their trench drains. While they were previously using straight injection molding, they realized the process was taking too long and was yielding products with significant warp. When they brought their project to use, we decided to use structural foam HDPE to create a high-quality product that met all of their needs. Read more in our case study.


Certain flooring options can be created using structural foam polyethylene or HDPE, including the DuraTrac Floors. These temporary outdoor flooring solutions need to be durable, weatherproof, and have good wear resistance.

Lawn and Garden Carts and Equipment

Garden and lawn carts and equipment need to be durable, able to withstand the elements, and be resistant to certain chemicals found in plant food, weed killer, or pesticides. Luckily, polyethylene and HDPE are able to withstand the outdoor environment.

Pallets and Large Totes

Many pallets and large totes are created from plastic in order to be durable, easy to clean, and able to be reused. Polyethylene and HDPE are common choices here since these materials are so durable, water resistant, chemical resistant, and have good physical properties.

At Port Erie, we have created durable plastic pallets that are able to be used repeatedly. Our pallets weigh less than 16 lbs, are 9 legged, and can handle up to 2,000 lbs.

Create High-Quality Structural Foam Polyethylene Products with Port Erie

For more than 70 years, Port Erie Plastics has been creating high-quality structural foam and injection molded products for various industries. We have a combined 615,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehousing space to create and store your plastic projects.

We can create structural foam molded polyethylene products up to 7.5 feet in length and with a wall thickness from 0.200 inches to 0.500 inches. We can also create plastic products with our custom injection molding and automated injection molding processes.

We also have an in-house team of engineers to make sure that your design is optimized for manufacturability. Our in-house mold and tool building can help make your production more efficient. Once your project is complete, we can store it in our warehouse until you need it shipped.

Contact us today to get started!

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