Polyvinyl Chloride, also known as PVC or Vinyl, is one of the world’s most widely used thermoplastic polymers. It is also the third-most largely manufactured synthetic plastic polymer. Prior to adding plasticizers, PVC comes in a naturally white and brittle substance. This type of polymer has been in existence longer than most plastics. In 1872, it was first synthesized but became commercialized in the 1940s and 1950s.
PVC application cuts across various industries – it is used in healthcare application, construction, signs, and clothing. The polymer exists in two main forms – flexible plastic and rigid or unplasticized polymer (rPVC and uPVC). Flexible PVC is soft and flexible due to the presence of plasticizers like DINP or diisononyl phthalate; hence, it can be bent to any form.
Flexible PVC is an ideal choice for electric wire insulation or flooring in homes, hospitals, offices, schools, and the rest. It can also serve as a rubber replacement in some cases. On the other hand, rigid PVC is applied in construction as plumbing pipes. PVC pipe is being classified by its schedules – Schedule 40 and Schedule 80. One schedule differs from the other in terms of pressure rating, wall thickness, and colour. If you would like to check out some available PVCs, please visit this link: PVC Plastics: Regal Plastics.
PVC plastics are highly favoured by project owners and construction companies due to their relatively low prices, high tensile strength, hardness, and resistance to environmental degradation, including alkalis and chemicals. Another advantage of PVC can be easily recycled.
What makes PVC widely used? This polymer features a very high density which makes it tough and strong. Construction companies and individuals can purchase them easily for an economical price. Additionally, it has other long-lasting characteristics that make it an ideal choice for various industrial applications. It can be manufactured from any of the three processes, namely: emulsion polymerization, suspension polymerization, and bulk polymerization.
Characteristics Of PVC
Polyvinyl chloride polymer is classified based on its properties, which include cost, density, hardness, and strength. In terms of density, PVC is very dense when compared to other types of plastic. It has a cheap and ready market. Rigid PVC materials are tough and durable. Finally, when it boils down to strength, they have high tensile strength.
Although, the downside to this material is its poor heat stability. Hence, additives are added to the polymer during its manufacturing process to stabilize it at higher temperatures. Another issue that can be encountered with PVC is the toxic fumes it emits when exposed to fire.
Another factor worth mentioning is that the expanded foam PVC is generally used in the graphics industry, due to its lightweight, excellent screw retention, printability, and the ability to be die-cut. Furthermore, it has superior fire properties and UV performance which makes it great for indoor and outdoor applications like POP displays, signage, displays, and letters.
Type 1 Polyvinyl Chloride is well-known for its excellent strength-to-weight ratio, flame resistance, chemical resistance, and cost-effectiveness. This type of polymer can ideally replace metal and wood as it is durable, mechanically strong, and low in moisture absorption. Type 1 PVC has various applications like chemical handling, air handling, conduits, pool components, and workstation.
Due to its unique properties, it can be used to store concentrated acid and other inorganic compounds, as it is resistant to salts, acids, bases, corrosives, alcohols, and fats. Hence, it is great for acid baths.