Innovations and Advances in PVC Technology

Advancements in Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) technology are improving for use in pipe, construction applications, wires and cabling, medical tubing, flooring, fabrics and other consumer items. As a thermoplastic resin, manufactured from industrial salts and carbon, PVC is also less dependent on oil or gas and considered a more natural resource.

PVC Pipe

PVC pipe is approximately 75% less expensive in use than PE pipe, (polyethylene HDPE). New advancements include PVC-O, oriented PVC and PVC-M, modified PVC. PVC-O has been successfully used in Australia for almost 20 years. This pipe is produced by re-aligning the molecules in PVC with Biaxial orientation. The pipe produced is considerably stronger, allowing the wall thickness to be reduced close to 50% while maintaining the same pressure strength.

This pipe offers increased hydraulic capacity and requires less energy use in production than PVC-U and other materials. PVC-O is lighter in weight making it easier to transport and work with. The material retains its strength in a wide range of temperatures and is highly impact resistant.

Fusible PVC is providing enormous benefits to trenchless technology. This pipe is extremely useful for replacing broken or damaged cast iron pipe. Cost savings are increased with a continuous pipe requiring no seal rings. Fusible PVC is being used in pressure and non-pressure lines and wastewater applications.

Modifying polymers added to PVC produce PVC-M pipe. PVC-M shows superior strength and resistance to cracks or scratches. The pipe can also be made with a thinner wall, reducing the material cost, while still offering the same durability.

PVC Piping can replace broken or damaged cast iron pipe.

PVC Compound

Metabolix developed a renewable modifier for PVC that increases the strength and resists fungi and biodegradation. PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate), a biobased copolymer, offers improved processing with all PVC compounds.

While the PHA polymer is biodegradable, when used in a non-biodegradable polymer, the biodegradation process is not increased. The modifier does not migrate and provides easier handling and processing. This formulation allows for using a single product in formulation to eliminate multiple modifiers and processing steps.

The PHA modifier gives higher flexibility and impact resistance to flexible and semi-rigid PVC. A next-generation PHA is being optimized for rigid PVC in outdoor use. The modifier should combat the poor light stability and oxidation of ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and MBS (Methaacrylate Butadiene Styrene) while providing more strength than ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate) and CPE (Chlorinated Polyethylene) modifiers.

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Further Reading: Think Pipes Think PVC, Institutional support for PVC-O pipes worldwide, PVC Pipeline project demonstrates that with trenchless technology, water utilities can do more with less


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