Home » News about Abbey Extrusions » Low-Density Polythene (LDPE) Tubing, What Is It & What Can It Be Used For?

Low-Density Polythene (LDPE) Tubing, What Is it & What Can It Be Used For?

In this guide, we will explore the world of Low-Density Polythene (LDPE) tubing; from its flexibility, strength, and chemical resistance, LDPE tubing is an essential component in various industries – including:

– Pharmaceuticals
– Food and beverage
– Agriculture

So, let’s explore the unique properties, applications, and benefits of LDPE tubing. This will provide you with all the insights you need to make the best-informed decision about whether this is the proper tubing for your needs.

PVC Tube

What is Low-Density Polythene (LDPE)?

Low-density polythene (LDPE) is a type of plastic made from the polymerisation of Ethylene. It is known for its flexibility, transparency, and chemical resistance. Due to its durability and moulding options, LDPE is commonly used in the production of tubes, films, and containers.

Designed for High Demand Applications

Our high-quality LDPE tubes are designed to meet the high demands of modern applications, ensuring you get reliable and high-performance tubing for your applications.

What is Low-Density Polythene (LDPE)?

Low-density polyethene (LDPE) has many properties, such as:

Chemical Composition:

Low-density polythene (LDPE) is a thermoplastic made from the monomer ethylene. As a result, the polymerisation process involves high-pressure methods, which results in a structure with a high degree of branching, which prevents the molecules from packing closely together – giving LDPE its characteristic properties.


LDPE is also really known for its flexibility, transparency, and toughness as its main properties.

Low Melting Point

Its low melting point is approximately 105°C – 115°C, making it easy to process and mould.


LDPE is also resistant to impact, moisture, and a variety of chemicals, which makes it ideal for applications that require both durability and resilience simultaneously.

Differences from Other Polymers

When compared to high-density polythene (HDPE), LDPE has a lower density and a more branched structure, which results in a softer and more flexible material.

Flexible VS Rigid

While HDPE is stiffer and more suitable for rigid products, LDPE’s flexibility makes it perfect for tubing and films, especially, however, unlike Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) tubing, LDPE does not contain chlorine, which makes it more environmentally friendly and safer for food-related applications as result.


Additionally, LDPE is generally more resistant to low temperatures and retains its flexibility better than other common polymers as well.

History and Development of LDPE Tubes

The development of low-density polythene (LDPE) dates back to the 1930s, when it was first polymerised by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) using a high-pressure process. This groundbreaking discovery at the time revolutionised material science, paving the way for the use of LDPE in numerous applications.

Furthermore, over the decades, advancements in polymer science and manufacturing techniques have then significantly improved the quality and versatility of LDPE, and today, LDPE tubes are widely adopted across various sectors, including:

  • Medical
  • Agricultural
  • Industrial fields

This adoption is primarily thanks to their flexibility, durability, and resistance to chemicals.

Manufacturing Process of LDPE Tubes

So, how are LDPE tubes manufactured?

Firstly, you have:

Raw Materials:

The primary raw material for producing Low-Density Polythene (LDPE) tubes is Ethylene, a hydrocarbon derived from natural gas or Petroleum.

Ethylene then undergoes polymerisation to form LDPE resin, which is then used in the tubing manufacturing process.


The production of LDPE tubes then typically involves extrusion.

During the extrusion process, LDPE resin is melted and forced through a die to shape it into tubes and sizes for your applications.

The extrusion process includes several stages:

  • Feeding the resin into an extruder
  • Melting and mixing
  • Shaping through a die, cooling
  • Cutting to desired lengths

This method then ensures that you and I get consistent diameter and wall thickness in the tubes that are produced.

Quality Control

Quality control during the manufacturing process is also crucial to ensure that you get reliable and performing LDPE tubes.

Consequently, our process involves testing at various stages of the production chain, which can include:

  • Checking the resin quality before extrusion
  • Monitoring temperature and pressure during the extrusion process
  • Conducting post-production inspections for uniformity, strength, and durability

Properties of Low Density Polythene Tubes

Low Density Polythene Tubes also have many properties that make them ideal for many application uses, such as:

Physical Properties

Low-density polythene (LDPE) tubes are well known for their exceptional physical properties, as they exhibit a high degree of flexibility, making them suitable for applications requiring bending and movement.

LDPE tubes are also very lightweight and have good impact resistance while possessing excellent transparency.


The material’s density can also range from 0.91 to 0.94 g/cm³, contributing to its soft and pliable nature as well.

Chemical Resistance

When it comes to chemical resistance, LDPE tubes offer you awe-inspiring results in this area, making them ideal for transporting a wide range of chemicals.

For instance, they can resist attacks from acids, alkalis, and most organic solvents. However, they are less resistant to strong oxidising agents and certain hydrocarbons.

This chemical stability ensures that LDPE tubes do not degrade or contaminate the substances they carry, maintaining the purity and integrity of the contents.


One of the standout features of LDPE tubes is their flexibility, as the material’s branched molecular structure allows it to bend and flex without breaking – even at low temperatures.

Consequently, this flexibility makes LDPE tubes highly suitable and easy to install in various environments, including those with tight or complex routing as well, while also reducing the risk of kinking or cracking under stress – all of which ensures you get a long-lasting performance tube as a result.

These properties collectively make LDPE tubes a preferred choice in many industries, including medical, agricultural, and industrial applications, where their strength, chemical resistance, and flexibility are really the key.

Application Uses

LDPE tubes offer you many application uses some of these being:

Medical and Pharmaceutical Tubing

Used for drug delivery systems, intravenous lines, and lab equipment due to their flexibility and chemical resistance.

Food and Beverage Industry

Ideal for dispensing liquids, syrups, and other food products, as they are safe and do not react with consumables.

Agricultural Irrigation

Employed in drip irrigation systems for their durability and ability to withstand various chemicals and weather conditions.

Laboratory and Chemical Transfer

Utilised for transferring chemicals and samples in laboratory settings because of their resistance to a wide range of chemicals.

Pneumatic Tubing

Used in low-pressure pneumatic systems for air or gas transport due to their flexibility and ease of installation.

Automotive Industry

Applied in windshield washer systems and other fluid transfer applications within vehicles.

Industrial Fluid Handling

Used for transporting a variety of fluids in industrial processes, benefiting from their chemical resistance and durability.

Protective Coverings

Employed as protective sheaths for wires and cables, offering insulation and protection from environmental factors.

Medical Device Components

Used in various medical devices and equipment for their non-reactive and flexible properties.

Consumer Products

Found in products like flexible straws, tubing for aquariums, and in various DIY applications where durability and flexibility are needed.

Chemical Resistance of LDPE Tubes

ChemicalCompatibilityUse in Chemical Industry
Acetic AcidExcellentUsed for transport and storage of acetic acid solutions
Hydrochloric AcidGoodSuitable for low-concentration HCl solutions
Sulfuric AcidFairUsed for dilute sulfuric acid applications
Sodium HydroxideExcellentIdeal for caustic solutions and alkali transport
Ethyl AlcoholExcellentCommonly used for alcohol transport and storage
BenzenePoorNot recommended for use with benzene
ToluenePoorNot suitable for toluene applications
ChlorineFairUsed in low concentrations and controlled environments
AmmoniaGoodSuitable for ammonia transport and storage
Hydrogen PeroxideGoodUsed for dilute hydrogen peroxide solutions

Flexibility and Strength of LDPE Tubes

Low-density polythene (LDPE) tubes exhibit remarkable performance under stress due to their inherent flexibility and toughness.

For instance, the branched molecular structure of LDPE allows the material to bend and flex without cracking, making it ideal for applications that involve dynamic movements or require a high degree of bending as well.

LDPE tubes can also withstand repeated flexing and bending, maintaining their integrity and performance over time. This flexibility also helps to absorb shocks and impacts, which in turn reduces the risk of damage during handling and operation.

Are LDPE tubes safe for food contact?

LDPE tubes are generally considered very safe for food contact, as they do not contain harmful chemicals like BPA or Phthalates. LDPE is non-toxic and does not react with food products – making it suitable for applications such as beverage dispensing and food packaging.

Can LDPE tubes be used in outdoor applications?

LDPE tubes can be used in outdoor and indoor applications, as they have good UV resistance, which helps them withstand exposure to sunlight without degrading the tubing.

This makes them suitable for irrigation systems, outdoor fluid transfer, and other applications where they may be exposed to the elements.

Think LDPE is right for you, or are you wondering what tubing will be?

Do you think LDPE is suitable for you, or do you need help determining what the tubing will be? Please get in touch with our team, who will be able to help you work out which one is right for your individual applications.


Can't find the right tube to meet your unique requirements?

We have decades of experience in creating custom tube solutions for a wide range of industries, ranging from the pharmaceutical industry to the aeronautics sector.​

Get a Quote