Transparent, lightweight, and high strength polyethylene films by a scalable continuous extrusion and solid-state drawing process

Yunyin Lin, Wei Tu, Rob C.P. Verpaalen, Han Zhang, Cees W.M. Bastiaansen (Corresponding author), Ton Peijs (Corresponding author)

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Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1900138
Number of pages11
JournalMacromolecular Materials and Engineering
Volume304
Issue number8
Early online date15 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2019

Keywords

  • film extrusion
  • mechanical properties
  • orientation
  • polyethylene
  • transparency

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