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Polyethylene pressure pipe materials explained

Make a wish. Count to three. Let us show you a world of MDPE, HDPE, HPPE, HMPE and more! Here JDP explains the different types of materials used in Polyethylene Pressure Pipe systems.

Polyethylene has a number of significant advantages over traditional materials such as steel or ductile iron, including lower weight, freedom from corrosion and the ability to coil long lengths of pipe. It is virtually unbreakable to impact, exceptionally resistant to abrasion and will outlast steel or other hard materials in most slurry handling applications.

With a number of applications and variations in pipe colour and standards, uncertainty over the suitability of varying pipe systems can occur. Below we have explained the various materials the pipes come in.

PE80
This is the term used to denote the polyethylene material, which has been widely used for gas, water and industrial applications for many years. The term MDPE is commonly used to describe this material. It can be made from either MDPE or HDPE, which is High Density Polyethylene.
PE100
This is a term used to denote High Performance Polyethylene or HPPE. It can be made from HPPE or HDPE. PE100 is a higher performance material than PE80 and demonstrates exceptional resistance to rapid crack propagation as well as long term stress cracking.
PE80 and PE100
These materials are not recommended for continuous pressure operation at temperatures above 60°C for liquids, including sewerage and industrial effluents, or 30°C for gaseous fluids. PE100 has advantages over PE80 at low temperatures, since it is extremely crack resistant down to -30°C.
MDPE, HPPE & HDPE
MDPE pipe is only made from PE80 material. HPPE is only made from PE100 material. HDPE pipe can be made from either PE80 or PE100. MDPE, HDPE and HPPE are merely reference terms, the PE rating along with the SDR rating are the important factors in determining the pressure rating and therefore the pipe required. PE100 pipes, whether HDPE or HPPE can be used & welded together in a Polyethylene Pipe System, as can PE80 pipes made from MDPE or HDPE.

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