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PVC – Uses and Benefits

In this article, DW Plastics discuss the uses and benefits of Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), using experience gained over many years providing PVC extrusion design, tooling, manufacture and technical support.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), is a synthetic resin made from the polymerization of vinyl chloride. It was first invented by the German chemist August Wilhelm von Hofmann in 1872, but was not patented until 1913 by Friedrich Heinrich August Klatte, another German chemist.

A lightweight, rigid plastic in its pure form “unplasticised” (UPVC), it is also manufactured in a flexible “plasticised” form (PVC). Second, only to polyethylene among the plastics in production and consumption, UPVC is durable and suitable for a wide range of domestic and industrial products, both for indoor and outdoor uses. It finds application in the construction sector, where its rigidity, impact strength, weatherproof attributes, and flame resistance are useful qualities, for example, in pipes, trunking, window and door frames, trims, cladding, and packaging. Other sectors include transport, healthcare, electrical, where its excellent electrical insulation properties are ideal for cabling applications.  Due to its rigidity, it must be extruded or moulded above 100 °C (212 °F). PVC is used for other products like raincoats, shower curtains, glazing seals, sleeves and flooring panels.

Further information about PVC:

 

Raw Materials

Of all the plastics, PVC is one of the most energy-efficient, requiring less energy to manufacture. PVC takes less non-renewable fossil fuel to make than any other commodity plastic because unlike other thermoplastics which are entirely derived from oil, PVC is manufactured from two starting materials, salt and oil.

Fire Resistance

PVC is inherently fire retardant and difficult to ignite, especially rigid PVC, which is naturally ‘0’ fire rated. PVC is also highly compatible with additives, which allows the addition of flame retardant additives to further improve these properties.

Durability

Resistant to UV weathering, chemical attack, shock and abrasion.  Especially useful for UPVC windows and exterior products – these are important sustainability criteria.

Environmentally Sound

PVC life cycle analysis by independent studies are favourable compared with other manufactured materials. (Source: British Plastics Federation: http://www.bpf.co.uk/plastipedia/polymers/PVC.aspx)

Insulation Properties

Excellent electrical and thermal insulation properties make PVC ideal for household wiring and cabling applications. Additionally, PVCs’ flexibility, ease of handling and inherent flame resistance make it an ideal material for this function.

Recyclablability

PVC is fully recyclable, and due to its properties, it reprocesses well and can be recycled into second or third life applications with ease. Across the world, the PVC industry has invested heavily to develop sophisticated recycling schemes to ensure that large amounts of PVC can be reused in a new generation of advanced energy-efficient, sustainable products.

 

D W Plastics is a manufacturer of high-quality bespoke plastic extrusion profiles. We supply high-volume plastic extrusions at competitive prices to a variety of customers across a wide range of trade sectors.

Our expertise in supplying custom plastic extrusions is built on many years of experience and D W Plastics has become well known in the industry for its PVC extrusion design and technical support.

We provide a wide range of services that enable us to offer a ‘one-stop-shop’ solution for our customer’s extrusion requirements. In addition to our product design services, we have in-house tooling and extrusion manufacturing equipment, which permits us to control the production process from start to finish ensuring shorter production lead times, cost-effective solutions and maintenance of our high-quality standards.

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