Polyethylene is a partly crystalline thermoplastic. It is a well-known simple polymer with advantages and disadvantages for use in piping. Polyethylene pipe has a wide variety of applications in the plumbing industry.
While there are numerous practical applications for polyethylene pipe, many countries across the globe use polyethylene piping exclusively in their buried water and gas lines.
Polyethylene is a hydrocarbon product that is considered to be environmentally friendly and does not easily swell or dissolve in most common solvents, according to Manufacturers Monthly. These characteristics make polyethylene an ideal material to use in the construction of piping.
Polyethylene pipes offer such desirable features as low weight, abrasion resistance, corrosion resistance, high impact resistance and superior flexibility.
Despite the many benefits associated with polyethylene pipes, this type of pipe is not resistant to oxidizing acids, ketones and chlorinated hydrocarbons, according to Manufacturers Monthly.
According to Plumbing Networks, polyethylene pipes should not be used in situations where they will be exposed to direct sunlight, as they can degrade in the presence of ultraviolet light.