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Polyvinyl chloride

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Polyvinyl chloride
Elongation at break 20–40%
Notch test 2–5 kJ/m2
Glass temperature 82 °C[1]
Melting point 100–260 °C[1]
Effective heat of combustion 17.95 MJ/kg
Specific heat (c) 0.9 kJ/(kg·K)
Water absorption (ASTM) 0.04–0.4
Repeating unit of PVC polymer chain
Space-filling model of a part of a PVC chain
PVC SPI code, for recycling (Society of the Plastics Industry). The Unicode character for this symbol is U+2675

Polyvinyl chloride, also called Polychloroethene or PVC, is a thermoplastic. It soft when heated and hard when cooled. Polyvinyl chloride is made by polymerization of the monomer vinyl chloride (chloroethene) CH2=CHCl. PVC can be made softer and more flexible by adding plasticizers. Phthalates are often used to soften PVC in this way.

Vinyl polymers are the most common type of plastic. In popular usage, "vinyl" refers mostly to PVC, but there are two other vinyl polymers which are more common. The most common is polyethylene, the second most common is polypropylene. Another, less used, is polystyrene.


PVC is often used in sewage pipe due to its low cost, chemical resistance and ease of jointing

Softened PVC is used in clothing, upholstery, electrical cable insulation, and other products instead of rubber.[2]

About half of the polyvinyl chloride resin manufactured each year is used to make pipes.[3] PVC pipes are 66% of the new water pipes in the US. PVC pipes are 75% of new sewer pipes.[4] PVC is useful because of its light weight, high strength, and low reactivity. Also, PVC pipes can be glued together, or they can be connected by heating (similar to joining HDPE pipe). Both kinds of connections make permanent joints that do not leak.

PVC plastics can be recycled. Their recycling code is "3".


  1. 1.0 1.1 Wilkes, Charles E. et al (2005). PVC Handbook. Hanser Verlag. p. 414. ISBN 9781569903797 .
  2. Titow W.V. (31 December 1984). PVC technology. Springer. pp. 6–. ISBN 978-0-85334-249-6 . Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  3. Shah Rahman (19–20 June 2007). "PVC Pipe & Fittings: Underground Solutions for Water and Sewer Systems in North America" (PDF). 2nd Brazilian PVC Congress, São Paulo, Brazil.
  4. Uses for vinyl: pipe.