Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Definition - What does Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) mean?

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a thermoplastic resin used in pipes and other construction materials. It is one of the most common types of plastic in use today. Also known as poly vinyl chloride, PVC is readily available and inexpensive. Its properties make it highly useful in a wide variety of applications. Roughly half of PVC manufacturing goes toward piping such as that used in trenchless construction.

Trenchlesspedia explains Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Plastics are everywhere. They have come to replace a host of other materials such as wood or metal, and they are an integral part of modern life. Polyvinyl chloride is used in tables, chairs, windows, doors, raincoats, shoes and credit cards. It is the “vinyl” in your vinyl records. And PVC pipe is used throughout the plumbing and construction industries.

The Plastics Industry Association has classified various types of plastic by number. The labeling scheme includes a triangle with three arrows encompassing the assigned number. PVC is considered #3 plastic, and a standardized symbol declaring this is stamped on PVC products.

First synthesized in 1872, PVC found significant use in B.F. Goodrich products in the 1920s. In its pure form, it is called rigid PVC, or RPVC. Additives called plasticizers are used to make the material softer. PVC, which decomposes at 140 degrees Celsius and melts at 160 degrees Celsius, is not recommended for situations involving high heat.

Polyvinyl chloride is very dense and has good tensile strength. It is very hard, and is resistant to chemicals. PVC is the material of choice for many applications in the trenchless construction field.

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