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Transparent, Lightweight, and High Strength Polyethylene Films by a Scalable Continuous Extrusion and Solid-State Drawing Process

Lin, Yunyin; Tu, Wei; Verpaalen, Rob C. P.; Zhang, Han; Bastiaansen, Cees W. M.; Peijs, Ton

By 27 January 2020No Comments

Macromolecular Materials and Engineering, 2019, vol 304, 8, pp. 1900138



The continuous production of transparent high strength ultra-drawn high-density polyethylene films or tapes is explored using a cast film extrusion and solid-state drawing line. Two methodologies are explored to achieve such high strength transparent polyethylene films; i) the use of suitable additives like 2-(2H-benzotriazol-2-yl)-4,6-ditertpentylphenol (BZT) and ii) solid-state drawing at an optimal temperature of 105 °C (without additives). Both methodologies result in highly oriented films of high transparency (?91%) in the far field. Maximum attainable modulus (?33 GPa) and tensile strength (?900 MPa) of both types of solid-state drawn films are similar and are an order of magnitude higher than traditional transparent plastics such as polycarbonate (PC) and poly(methyl methacrylate). Special emphasis is devoted to the effect of draw down and pre-orientation in the as-extruded films prior to solid-state drawing. It is shown that pre-orientation is beneficial in improving mechanical properties of the films at equal draw ratios. However, pre-orientation lowers the maximum attainable draw ratio and as such the ultimate modulus and tensile strength of the films. Potential applications of these high strength transparent flexible films lie in composite laminates, automotive or aircraft glazing, high impact windows, safety glass, and displays.

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