Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) is a substantially linear polymer (polyethylene), with significant numbers of short branches, commonly made by copolymerization of ethylene with longer-chain olefins. Linear low-density polyethylene differs structurally from conventional low-density polyethylene (LDPE) because of the absence of long chain branching. The linearity of LLDPE results from the different manufacturing processes of LLDPE and LDPE. In general, LLDPE is produced at lower temperatures and pressures by copolymerization of ethylene and such higher alpha-olefins as butene, hexene, or octene. The copolymerization process produces an LLDPE polymer that has a narrower molecular weight distribution than conventional LDPE and in combination with the linear structure, significantly different rheological properties.
he production of LLDPE is initiated by transition metal catalysts, particularly Ziegler or Philips type of catalyst. The actual polymerization process can be done either in solution phase or in gas phase reactors. Usually, octene is the comonomer in solution phase while butene and hexene are copolymerized with ethylene in a gas phase reactor. LLDPE has higher tensile strength and higher impact and puncture resistance than does LDPE. It is very flexible and elongates under stress. It can be used to make thinner films, with better environmental stress cracking resistance. It has good resistance to chemicals. It has good electrical properties. However, it is not as easy to process as LDPE, has lower gloss, and narrower range for heat sealing.