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A Guide To PVC Plastic

A Guide To PVC Plastic

Understanding PVC Plastic

One of the most widely used and recognized thermoplastic polymers globally is polyvinyl chloride, better known as PVC.

PVC has been manufactured commercially since the 1920s, making it older than most polymers, having been originally synthesized in 1872. It is most frequently employed in the construction sector and is also used in the clothing fabric, signage, and healthcare industries.

Flexible PVC is frequently used in construction as flooring for homes, hospitals, schools, and other places where maintaining a hygienic atmosphere is a priority or as insulation on electrical cables. In addition, PVC can successfully replace rubber, and rigid PVC can be used in construction as siding and plumbing tubing.

PVC is highly chemical-resistant and can withstand acids, salts, bases, fats, and alcohols, making it suitable for sewage plumbing. PVC can be made in several hues but is most frequently available in white, dark gray, or clear material that is somewhat blue in tint.

The relative affordability, resistance to chemical and alkaline deterioration, high hardness, and exceptional plastic tensile strength of rigid PVC are some of the most significant features of PVC plastic. In addition, PVC is still widely accessible, frequently utilized, and readily recycled.

Properties of PVC

The following are some of the most significant characteristics of PVC:

  • PVC has a fairly high density compared to most polymers.
  • PVC is readily accessible and affordable.
  • Rigid PVC has a high hardness and durability rating.
  • Rigid PVC has excellent tensile strength.
  • As a thermoplastic, PVC can be shaped or formed under heat, cooled, and then shaped as needed without significant degradation.
  • PVC is UV-resistant. The lifespan of rigid PVC under the sun is between 50 and 80 years.
  • Weather resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Fire and mold resistant

PVC boasts many benefits, but there are a couple of characteristics to consider.

The heat stability of PVC is extremely low.

Therefore, when PVC melts or is burned, it releases toxic fumes.

Popular Uses for PVC

PVC is a versatile material with many potential uses touching upon nearly every industry imaginable. Popular benefits include drainage pipes, water service pipes, window frames, medical devices, bags for storing blood, cable and wire insulation, flooring, roofing membranes, stationery, automotive interiors and seat coverings, clothing and footwear, packaging, cling film, credit cards, vinyl records, and other coated fabrics.

PVC is the material for cabling because of its built-in flame resistance and superior electrical insulation qualities.

At normal ambient temperature, unplasticized PVC is one of the stiffest polymers and exhibits no breakdown even after many years of use. In addition, it comes in various colors. It is frequently utilized as an alternative to traditional wood for window and door frames, providing a high potential for energy savings and low cost.

Is PVC Better Than Other Plastics?

Rigid PVC is considered incredibly strong—more so than many other plastics. It performs exceptionally well when relied on for its durability and impact resistance. ABS comes out ahead in terms of durability and cost, but its lack of flexibility can make PVC the preferred material for some applications. Similarly, HDPE is stronger than PVC, but PVC is significantly less expensive, which may be a fair trade-off in some instances, and its flexibility is still considered an advantage.

Can PVC Plastic Sheet Be Easily Cut, Drilled, Or Shaped?

PVC sheets can be sawed, cut, or drilled with relative ease. A decent craft knife can cut through PVC sheet at 5 mm or less. For a thicker sheet, you can use pretty much any tool you’d also use with wood. You need to be sure that the blades and bits are sharp and either carbide-tipped or combination blades. A jigsaw works well if you want to form the PVC into a specific shape.

As long as you’re not counting on the PVC to maintain its structural integrity, bending can be a convenient tool when creating unique designs. Many use bent PVC to help form a frame or support other materials. Some use bent PVC as a template to avoid spending too much money on more expensive alternatives.

PVC can be bent by applying a little heat. In many cases, a hair dryer or a gas stove is sufficient. Just work slowly and let the material cool before proceeding with your project.

How Piedmont Plastics Can Serve You

Piedmont Plastics offers PVC sheet and tubing to its customers at their choice of size, width, and color. Contact us, and we’ll put you in touch with our plastics experts, who can help you find the best materials for your project from our nationwide network of over 50 branch locations.