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Polyethylene molecule

Polyethylene is a polymer of ethylene. It is non-toxic and easily recycled. Polyethylene is a synthetic material, and is the most common plastic produced on Earth. This may be true on Mars as well.

In situ Production

Polyethylene is produced in industrial quantities from ethylene through the use of catalysts. Common catalysts include chromium trioxide and metallocene.


Embodied energy: about 100 MJ/kg, depending on the variety.

Density: 880–960 kg/m3

Melting point: 115–135 °C

Strength: LDPE: 7 MPa (1000 psi) HDPE: 20 MPa (2900 psi)


Polyethylene is used widely on Earth, and will likely have many applications in a Martian settlement. Polyethylene is available as LDPE (low density polyethylene) and HDPE (high density polyethylene).


Wikipedia article

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