Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a major thermoplastic material finding use in a very wide variety of applications and products.
The essential raw materials for PVC are derived from salt and oil. The electrolysis of salt water produces chlorine, which is combined with ethylene, obtained from oil, to form vinyl chloride monomer (VCM). Molecules of VCM are polymerised to form PVC resin, to which appropriate additives are incorporated to make a customised PVC compound.
A wide variety of grades of PVC are available, suitable for:
* blow moulding
* cast or blown film
* injection moulding
* rotational moulding
* slush moulding
PVC’s major benefit is its compatibility with many different kinds of additives, making it a highly versatile polymer. PVC can be plasticised to make it flexible for use in flooring and medical products. Rigid PVC, also known as PVC-U (The U stands for “unplasticised”) is used extensively in building applications such as window frames.
Its compatibility with additives allows for the possible addition of flame retardants although PVC is intrinsically fire retardant because of the presence of chlorine in the polymer matrix.
PVC has excellent electrical insulation properties, making it ideal for cabling applications. Its good impact strength and weatherproof attributes make it ideal for construction products.
PVC can be clear or coloured, rigid or flexible, formulation of the compound is key to PVC’s “added value”.
Window frames, drainage pipe, water service pipe, medical devices, blood storage bags, cable and wire insulation, resilient flooring, roofing membranes, stationary, automotive interiors and seat coverings, fashion and footwear, packaging, cling film, credit cards, synthetic leather and other coated fabrics.
PVC has been used extensively in a wide range of construction products for over half a century. PVC’s strong, lightweight, durable and versatile characteristics make it ideal for window profiles. PVC’s inherent flame retardant and excellent electrical insulation properties make it ideal for cabling applications.
Typical example of PVC construction products include:
* Window and door profiles
* Architectual glazing systems
* Pipes and fittings
* Power, data and telecoms wiring and cables
* Cable and services ducting
* Internal and external cladding
* Conservatories and atria
* Roofing and ceiling systems and membranes
* Rainwater, soil and waste systems
PVC has been used for hundreds of life-saving and healthcare products for almost 50 years being used in surgery, pharmaceuticals, drug delivery and medical packaging.
Typical examples of PVC healthcare products include:
* “Artificial skin” in emergency burns treatment
* Blood and plasma transfusion sets
* Blood vessels for artificial kidneys
* Catheters and cannulae
* Blood bags
* Containers for intravenous solution giving sets
* Container for urine continence and ostomy products
* Fluid Bags
* Drip chamber components
* Endotracheal tubing
* Feeding and pressure monitoring tubing
* Heart and lung bypass sets
* Inflatable splints
* Inhalation masks
* Surgical and examination gloves
* Shatter-proof bottles and jars
* Protective sheeting and tailored covers
* Mattress and bedding covers
* Wall and floor coverings
* Blister and dosage packs for pharmaceuticals and medicines
* Power, data and telecoms cables
* Piping delivery systems
* Drainage channels
* Anti-bump protection bars
3) Automotive Synthetic Leather
PVC brings both high performance qualities and important cost benefits to the automotive industry. Independent research by Mavel Consultants has shown that the typical cost of using alternative materials is in a range 20-100% higher per component.
Typical examples of PVC automotive components include:
* Instrument panels and associated mouldings
* Interior Door Panels and Pockets
* Sun Visors
* Seat Coverings
* Security Covers
* Body Seam Sealing
* Mud Flaps
* Underbody Coating
* Floor Coverings
* Exterior Side Moulding and Protective Strips
* Anti-Stone Damage Protection
* Auto Harness Wiring