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Technology Profile: LDPE via a High-Pressure Tubular Process

By Intratec Solutions |

This column is based the report “LDPE via High-Pressure Tubular Process – Cost Analysis,” published by Intratec. It can be found at the following URL: www.intratec.us/analysis/ldpe-production-cost. Polyethylene (PE) is the world’s largest-volume commodity polymer, due in large part to the widespread availability of ethane, the raw material for manufacturing ethylene, as well as ethylene’s relatively low cost and broad range of applications. Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is one of the three main types of polyethylene. The other two are high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). LDPE differs from HDPE and LLDPE primarily in its unique molecular structure — large amounts of long-chain branching impart the material with different rheological behavior in both shear and extension.   Figure 1. The diagram shows the production of LDPE via a high-pressure tubular process[/caption] The process The following paragraphs describe a high-pressure polymerization process for the production of LDPE, using tubular reactors. Figure 1 presents a simplified flow diagram for this process. Compression. Fresh polymer-grade ethylene is mixed with a low-pressure gas stream that contains unreacted…
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