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PEX plastic
Cross-Linked Polyethylene (PEX) Injection Molding Stands up to Hot Water

PEX Replaces PVC and Other Materials

Cross-linked polyethylene, better known as PEX, is one of the newer engineered materials. It was first introduced in North America in the mid-1980s for use in radiant heat. Today, it is found in cross-linked polyethylene plumbing and has a myriad of other uses. PEX is a preferred alternative to polyvinyl chloride (PVC), chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) or copper tubing when hot water flow is required.

Cross-linking polyethylene lengthens the polymer chain and increases tensile strength. It can then be heated without movement, and the process improves abrasion resistance. Cross-linking different compounds to polyethylene produces different PEX characteristics. In general, three categories of additives produce different types of PEX. For example, PEX-a is low tension and has higher flexibility and is softer and tougher than irradiated PEX. Interested in using this material for your project? Request a quote to get pricing.


PEX’s ability to withstand the movement of hot liquid is its most distinguishing characteristic and the main reason the material has gained favor over the years. Other general PEX characteristics include:

  • High temperature and pressure capabilities
  • Pressure-surge dissipation
  • Freeze resistance
  • Chlorine resistance
  • Use as a transport for potable water
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Chemical resistance
  • Toughness to withstand velocities
  • Crack resistance (if cracked, the crack is less likely to spider or grow)
  • Can be subject to permeation of materials in the soil

Industries and Applications

Widely used in a variety of industries and applications, PEX pipe fittings are one of its most common applications. PEX is a popular choice in industries and applications, including:

  • Plumbing
  • Heating and cooling
  • Residential and commercial water distribution systems
  • Insulation for high-voltage cabling
  • Chemical transportation
  • Sewage and slurry transportation
  • Natural gas and offshore oil distribution

Plastic injection molding with PEX can produce parts that exhibit long-lasting endurance in many environments. However, it is not the best choice if rigidity is a requirement. While still at the lower end of the cost scale, it is slightly more expensive than common PVC. Selecting the best material requires a thorough understanding of the material properties, performance, and cost.

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