PVC sheets cut to size
Plasticsheetsshop offers a large range in PVC sheets. PVC comes in two varieties: foamed and solid PVC sheets. Solid PVC is mostly used as an engineering plastic, because of its high chemical resistance. Foamed PVC sheets are widely implemented in advertising and printing. In our online shop we offer white foamed PVC sheets, coloured foamed PVC sheets and dark grey solid PVC. The coloured sheets are available in yellow, red, blue, grey, green, black, ivory and orange. The sheet thickness ranges from 0.5 till 19 mm thick. Both versions are easy to handle, but to save you the effort we can cut the sheets to size free of charge. The required size sheet will be ready for delivery within 48 hours. More information about PVC sheets can be found at the bottom of this page.
PVC: versatile without limitations
PVC, short for Polyvinyl chloride, is a versatile material that is commonly used in industries such as machine development and sign making. PVC sheets are available in the solid version and in foamed sheets, also known as foam board, Forex® or Foamex. In our online shop we offer nine different colours and sheet thicknesses ranging from 0.5 till 19 millimetres. Both foamed and solid PVC sheets can be cut to size free of charge.
Before deciding on a plastic sheet, it is important to realise the major differences between the two varieties of PVC. First of all, foamed PVC is a lightweight plastic; as it weighs less than half a gram per square centimetre. Foamed PVC weighs half as much as solid PVC, making it easy to handle and a choice material for advertising and sign making. Especially, since foamed PVC sheets are also suitable for several printing methods. Many advertising signs in stores are made of foam board. The surface of the material is smooth, but not hard like solid PVC sheets. Foamed PVC’s core consists of PVC foam, which makes the material so light. Foamed PVC sheets have other useful and important characteristics, for example: they are fire retardant and heat and sound insulating. Additionally, the versatile material is suitable for alterations such as drilling, sawing and cutting, making the material a common choice in construction.
Solid PVC sheets are significantly heavier and stronger than foamed PVC, making them more durable and abrasion resistant. Solid PVC sheets are extremely workable, so sawing and milling are easy tasks. It also helps that the material tends to keep its shape really well, making it suitable for precision work. And after making a notch in thinner sheets (1 or 2 mm thick), the PVC sheets are even foldable. Normally, the material will hardly change shape, even when it’s under pressure. Due to this shape stability, solid PVC sheets lends itself for brace material (adjustment and filling sheets) in heavy duty machinery. Another important quality is solid PVC’s high chemical resistance, which makes the material popular for applications in laboratories and in the chemicals industry. Finally, PVC is well known for being electrically insulating. Solid PVC is therefore commonly used as electric tubing and to cover electric equipment.
The wide variety of PVC at Plasticsheetsshop.co.uk
In our online shop we offer both foamed and solid PVC. White foam board is available in sheet thicknesses ranging from 2 till 19 millimetres. We stock coloured foam board in the thicknesses 3 and 5 millimetres. Solid PVC sheets can be ordered in white, dark grey or transparent. We stock one transparent sheet that is extremely thin: 0.5 mm thick. The white PVC sheets come in thicknesses 1, 2 and 3 millimetres. The dark grey variant on the other hand, is available in a wide range of thicknesses, going from 2 till 20 millimetres.
Working with PVC sheets
PVC sheets are easy to work with: sawing, cutting, drilling, painting and bending are no problem for foamed PVC sheets. The surface is smooth, which makes it suitable for printing or writing. Solid PVC sheets can be easily shaped by sawing, drilling and milling. When heated with a filament, solid PVC sheets can also be bent and shaped. Actions such as gluing and engraving require some special attention. Gluing solid PVC material can only be done by using a special PVC glue, such as Uni 100 PVC glue. Engraving solid PVC sheets can be achieved, but only with a low rotation speed. When the rotation speed is too high, the material will heat up to fast causing the surface to melt. The maintenance for PVC sheets does not require a lot of effort: they are easy to clean with common, mild household cleaning products.
Applying foamed PVC sheets
Due to its high processability and the possibility for printing, foamed PVC sheets are a popular plastic in the advertising and stand building sector. Many shop displays, billboards and model making applications include foamboard. In construction, foamed PVC sheets are applied where heat and sound insulating properties are required. Foamed PVC is not only used in professional settings, it’s also a choice material for a do-it-yourselver or a handyman.
Solid PVC sheets: used in many industries
Solid PVC is renowned for its shape stability and its high temperature, pressure and chemical resistance. Making it a common choice in the machine and appliance development industry. Solid PVC is often used behind the scenes as brace and filling material to align machines, roofs and façades. The shape stability makes the material useful for precision parts such as gears and other moving components. Due to the electrically insulating qualities, solid PVC is often applied in electrical cabinets and boxes.
How it’s made – producing polyvinyl chloride
The production process for polyvinyl chloride is a complex, but manageable chemical process. It is made by the polymerisation of vinyl chloride, this is the base material for PVC. This is done in a reactor where the base material is mixed with water and brought to a high temperature. The high temperature and pressure results in the polymerisation. The end product, after some more refining steps, is a white, powdered material. The material is mixed with additives to make the PVC granulate ready for production. PVC granulate melts at 180 degrees Celsius, and when heated it can be shaped or poured into any form. PVC sheets, like the solid PVC sheets found in our online shop, are made by repeatedly rolling the material until solid sheets are formed. In the past, plasticisers were used to make the rolling process easier, but these substances caused health problems. Nowadays, the PVC production is guided by strict regulations, making both solid and foamed PVC plastic completely free of any health risks.
The history of PVC plastic
The substance polyvinyl chloride was first accidently discovered by the Frenchman Regnault around 1840. History repeated itself in 1872, when chemist Baumann unexpectedly polymerised a bottle of vinyl chloride. He discovered that the process of UV light and heat started to polymerisation process. However, a valuable or useful application wasn’t found until two scientists from German company Griesheim Elektron started looking for a practical and commercial application for PVC. They found it when they discovered the electrical insulating quality of solid PVC. Unfortunately, they could not find an affordable and manageable production method for the material. Consequently, it wasn’t until 1926 when another scientist found a way to make PVC plastic by adding additives leading to the current production method. Ever since, PVC is the most produced and used plastic worldwide.