The aim of this work was to study the interaction between high density polyethylene (HDPE) grades as material for dangerous goods packagings and biofuels such as E10 (fuel with 10% ethanol), E85 (fuel with 85% ethanol), biodiesel and B10 (heating oil with 10% biodiesel). Jerricans made of two polyethylene grades were filled with these fuels and exposed to temperatures of 20 0C and 40 0C for more than one year. Tensile properties (tensile strength, breaking elongation and elasticity modulus) and Melt Flow Rate (MFR) were determined, and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) was used to evaluate changes in the chemical structure.
Measurements of the MFR and tensile properties of the polyethylene grades after exposure to E10, E85 and B10 showed only a slightly damaging influence. An increase in the peak of 1585 cm-1 for the (C=C) stretching vibrations was visible in the FTIR spectra after immersion tests with E85. An increase in the MFR with the immersion time of the grades in biodiesel was measured - in particular, after one year of exposure. The elasticity modulus of the polyethylene grades was reduced with the immersion time too. The FTIR spectra showed a broadening of the C=O peak of 1740 cm-1 and the appearance of the hydroxyl group at 3500 cm-1.