Brentwood Plastics blog


Posted by Joel Longstreth on Fri, May 01, 2020 @ 06:13 PM

Verbal shorthand when thrown around casually can lead to misunderstandings especially to an industry insider who takes these terms literally. 

Herewith is a short explanation of some common acronyms for plastic films in plain English starting with the basic chemical building block.  


The only thing common to all three is ethylene, C2H4 or " C2" for short in the petrochemical realm.  This building block is a monomer.  String them together with variations on a theme and you got the polymer ( poly vs. mono )
polyethylene. PE, PEVA and metallocene PE are all polyethylene .  

Poly Vinyl Choride or PVC for short is ethylene conjoined with chloride to make Vinyl Chloride monomer H2C=CHCl.  String together a bunch of these and you got POLY vinyl chloride loosely referred to as vinyl. 

Tangram Technology Ltd. - Polymer Pinking

image credit Tangram Technology UK

This is where the similarities end.  The differences in these two largest volume thermoplastics are stark.  
To achieve difference in softness or stiffness, PVC needs to have what are called plasticizers added.  Because of the chlorine, PVC is naturally self-extinguishing.  Polyethylene PE is just compressed natural gas so it is very flammable.  PVC is about 35% more dense than even the highest density of polyethylene, or HDPE #2.   PVC is a "polar" molecule which makes it a natural for RF sealing.  PE is inert and must be heat sealed.

Metallocene PE ( mPE ) is polyethylene made with a metallocene catalyst.  It is imperative to remember metallocene is a catalyst, not a comonomer.  There is a wide variation in the species.  Metallocene really is the Holy grail because it allows precise molecular weight distribution.  Think molecules made by cookie cutter. 

We have written exensively about PEVA.  This link takes you to three blog posts which explain the differences in more depth.   PEVA has caught on because it is slightly polar and can be RF welded with a minimum of modification to heirloom RF welding apparatus.  We can mimic the properties of PEVA with a blend of metallocenes.

If you still have questions, please contact me 513 238 8552

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Topics: PEVA

Plastic Films Substitution

Posted by Joel Longstreth on Fri, Oct 04, 2019 @ 06:13 PM

Everybody wants replacements for politically incorrect plastic films to be exactly like the original.  No property trade-offs.  No exaggeration. 


Would these same people expect the same results from direct substitution of stevia, xylitol or saccharin ?

There are many drivers.  Back in the 1990's when PVC started to fall out of favor, we got calls for PVC replacement.   The major complaint about our metallocene which mimicked the "hand" of vinyl was that it did not seal in the heirloom RF sealers.  The expectation was that a non-polar molecule would behave just like a polar molecule.  Reluctantly, new sealing techniques were developed as a work around. 


Skip ahead to this past summer.  We got literally dozens of calls for our equivalent to PVC cling wrap for packaging corn because WalMart does not want PVC in their stores.  Even if they found a polyethylene that was clear enough and ran in the usual machine, the shelf life would not be the same due to difference in permeability. 


PEVA ( polyethylene with ethylene vinyl acetate ) has emerged as the film of choice for shower curtains because it is not PVC and is sealable by RF with minor modifications.  

We wasted a lot of resources developing a substitute for PVC in commercial wallcoverings.  The greenbuild culture despises PVC but they are stuck with it.  Only PVC passes E 84 because it is naturally self-extinguishing.

The interest in percieved sustainable films has hit a tipping point as products are being designed for more of a "circular" than "linear" economy.   Designers are finding there are many frustrating hurdles to overcome.



Just when you think you've seen it all department - today somebody inquired about a substitute for a coextrusion of LDPE / Nylon / LDPE.  They wanted a certifiably compostable film just as tough as the coex structure with the sealability to nonwoven.  At first I thought it was a prank.

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Topics: PVC free plastic, PVC free, PEVA film, PEVA, Non - PVC, PVC substitute, sustainable packaging,, green plastic

EVA and PEVA - be specific

Posted by Joel Longstreth on Tue, Nov 08, 2011 @ 12:25 PM

EVA and PEVA are both acronyms for Ethylene Vinyl Acetate.  Somehow the P for polyethylene was added to create the acronym "PEVA."

To make EVA copolymer, Vinyl Acetate Monomer or "VAM" is copolymerized, or conjoined with Ethylene monomer to make Ethylene Vinyl Acetate. 

EVA copolymer is made in varying percentages from 2% EVA, 4% EVA, 6% EVA, 8 % EVA up to about 28 % EVA for blown film.  If you order simply "EVA" it is too broad and not specific enough.
The percentage of EVA is critical because the greater the EVA component, the lower the melting point.  This affects the EVA film performance properties.  If you are RF welding, the more EVA is needed for response to RF frequencies.  For low melt / total batch inclusion, the amount of EVA must be known to match with the desired melting point.  EVA is popular for solar photovoltaic pv cell encapsulation, yet EVA film suppliers do not specify the percent of EVA in the film for solar panel manufacturers.

When ordering EVA film, be sure to specify the amount of EVA for consistent performance.

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Topics: EVA sheet solar, EVA film, solar panel manufacturers, PEVA film, PEVA, EVA film supplier

Metallocene VS EVA

Posted by sam Longstreth on Tue, Jun 21, 2011 @ 11:33 AM

In it's day, ethylene vinyl acetate ( EVA / PEVA ) was a game changer.  It enhances physical properties and sealability.   When added to homopolymer polyethylene in small amounts (1 to 3%) it improves the clarity.  When added in higher percentages (4 to 6%) it further enhances sealabilty and improves cold stress crack resistance.  At the 4 to 6% loading the optics of the film decrease due to the high amounts of antiblock needed to prevent the film from sticking to itself.  

The drawbacks to EVA are tackiness and odor.  It has a pungent apple bouquet which makes it unacceptable for dairy products.

Metallocenes have better optics, better physicals, a lower heat seal initiation temperature, better cold temperature stress crack resitance, less taste transfer, less expensive and offers a better opportunity for downgauging than EVA's.  

Legacy specs often call out EVA which is of course often difficult to alter.  A blend of the right metallocenes can easily mimic an EVA.. 

Back in the 1990's when metallocene burst on the scene, many predicted the demise of EVA. Skip ahead to present day.  Turns out each has it's place.  EVA is a popular substitute for PVC and for adhesive layer of solar panels.  It is still used for total batch inclusion. 

We offer both EVA and metallocene.

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Topics: metallocene, EVA, PEVA

PEVA film is not the only PVC substitute

Posted by Joel Longstreth on Wed, May 18, 2011 @ 02:37 PM

not PVC shower curtainPEVA materials are not the only PVC substitute film.

PEVA film is a popular substitute where PVC has been banned mainly because it is what is known as a "polar" molecule.  The properties of polyethylene film copolymer EVA also known as PEVA material most closely mimic the polar nature of PVC.  This makes "PEVA" the path of least resistance when substituting for PVC. 

PEVA shower curtains are a ubiquitous PEVA film success story.  It is interesting to note that the retail price of a PEVA shower curtain is about triple the cost of a PVC shower curtain.  The cost to manufacture is identical for both PVC shower curtains and PEVA shower curtains.  The claims of "Eco Friendly" and biodegradable are unabashed greenwashing claims know politely as "son of fibbing" or outright lies depending on who is defining the greenwashing sin.

Not all PEVA's are created equal.  PEVA is short for "Polyethylene Ethylene Vinyl Acetate" which is a copolymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate. The copolymer is made by the resin producer in varying percentages, not added by the blown film manufacturer.  Therefore it is essential to specify the percentage of EVA copolymer in the PEVA material.

New metallocene catalyst polyethylene films emulate the "hand" of calendared PVC.  Metallocenes have proven to be very clean in biotoxicity tests in medical applications requiring prolonged and direct skin contact.  While RF welding metallocene requires a learning curve and a modified "buffer", metallocenes are readily heat sealable.  Custom shapes can be achieved by a heated seal which is a heated die rule.

An additional side benefit to both PEVA and metallocenes used where PVC is banned is they are considered "burnable" by European standards. 

describe the image

A new category of polymers which we'll call thermoplastic olefins, or TPO's for short open up some exciting possibitlies such as digital printable custom shower curtains and wallcoverings

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Topics: PEVA, PEVA material, PEVA shower curtains

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