An Introduction to PVC Plastic

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is a thermoplastic polymer that is commonly used for a multitude of manufactured items. This material is both economical and versatile and PVC is used across a wide number of sectors, including:

  • Construction
  • Domestic
  • Packaging
  • Clothing
  • Wires and Cables
  • Automotive
  • Medical
  • Toys

PVC is widely used for the fabrication of elements for the building and construction industries. Common products include door and window profiles, wire and cable insulation, siding, gumboots, windows, medical devices and pipes.  The majority of PVC products are implemented for long-lasting building and construction applications.

Currently, PVC is available in two broad categories, namely: plasticised or flexible PVC and un-plasticised or rigid PVC.  Flexible PVC has a density of 1.1-1.35 g/cm3 while rigid PVC has a density of 1.3-1.45 g/cm3.

The qualities of Polyvinyl Chloride:

  • Strong
  • Resistant
  • Inexpensive
  • Good electrical insulation properties
  • Durable
  • Flame retardant
  • Resistant to all inorganic chemicals.

The limitations of PVC: 

  • Poor heat stability
  • Properties can change over time, due to plasticiser migration
  • Flexible PVC has a lower chemical resistance than rigid PVC
  • Rigid PVC has a low continuous service temperature of 50°C

Recycling PVC in South Africa:

Recycling PVC is more difficult than recycling other materials like PET, due to the chlorine content of this polymer. In order to process PVC plastics, recyclers require special machinery, which means that many recycling plants in South Africa currently cannot process PVC.

A considerable advantage to recycling PVC, however, is the fact that PVC can be recycled up to eight times before it becomes too brittle to continue. The material is also more energy-efficient to manufacture and process than other types of plastic, and it contains less carbon content than other thermoplastics.

Despite the recycling challenges, PVC is a valuable and useful thermoplastic that offers manufacturers and consumers various benefits. If the recycling centres for PVC increase, this material will only increase in value and usability.

Plastic & Chemical Trading is a valuable technical partner that supports your manufacturing needs. Contact us today to ask how we can streamline and improve your business!