Plastic Sheeting Terms and Meanings

Plastic sheeting is a versatile, common tool used across many industries. These terms will help you develop a complete understanding of what it is and how to use it. Something important to note is that plastic sheeting can sometimes be referred to as plastic film and that it is usually purchased in rolls. You’ll find that plastic sheeting is used for a wide variety of purposes, including construction, landscaping, masonry, material protection, equipment guarding, and much more. Let’s take a look at some of the key terms that relate to plastic film and its uses.  

Appearance Terms 

Gloss: How and to what degree the surface of the film reflects light. 

Opaque: Sheeting that won’t allow light to transmit through it. 

Translucent: A clear film that allows light to transmit through it. 

Tint: Small voids within the sheeting that permit water, air, and other elements to pass through. 

Haze: The sheet’s degree of cloudiness. 

Measurement Terms 

Mil: One thousandth of an inch. 

Density: Weight per volume. 

Film: Sheeting that is no thicker than .010 inches (10 mil). 

Ream: 500 sheets measuring 2 ft. x 3 ft., equaling a total of 3,000 sq. ft. or 432,000 sq. in.   

Yield: Square inches of film produced per pound. Depends on density and thickness of the sheeting. 

Basis Weight: The weight of one ream of film. Measured in pounds and depends on density and thickness of sheeting. 

Tolerance: Specific allowance for deviations in weight, measurements, etc. 

Properties Terms 

Elongation: How much a film can stretch over a certain load profile. 

Shrink: A film’s ability to conform to an object or load when it is reheated. Occurs as a result of controlled orientation. 

Impact Strength: How much a film can withstand shock loading, blunt puncturing, etc. 

Tensile Break: The amount of stress from pulling needed to break the sheeting. 

Tensile Yield: The amount of stress from pulling needed to deform the sheeting. 

Orientation: The film’s crystalline structure layout in both machine and transverse directions. 

Surface Resistivity: Electrical resistance of the plastic’s surface. 

Additives Terms 

Ultraviolet Absorber: Additive that selectively absorbs UV rays. 

Ultraviolet Inhibitor: Selectively blocks the transmission of radiation from UV rays. 

Slip: Additive that reduces surface friction. 

Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor: Compound that helps prevent oxidation, corrosion, or rust of parts covered by the sheeting. 

Process and Resin Terms 

Extrusion: Process through which materials are broken down and reshaped when pushed through an opening. 

Thermoplastic: Poly material that can be repeatedly softened with heat and hardened with cooling. 

Low-Density Polyethylene: Plastic material with density of .910-.925. 

Medium-Density Polyethylene: Plastic material with density of .926-.939. 

High-Density Polyethylene: Plastic material with density of .940-.965. 

Configuration Terms 

Sheets on a Roll: Continuous layer of film that separates sheets by perforations and is wound onto a roll. 

Centerfold Sheeting: A double layer of sheeting that is cut evenly on one side and folded on the other. 

Single Wound Sheeting: A single layer of sheeting that is cut on both sides. 

Double Wound Sheeting: A double layer of sheeting that is cut evenly on both sides. 

What Next? 

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