What is PVC?

What is PVC

PVC is the abbreviation for polyvinyl chloride and one of the most commonly used plastics. It is a stable, inert and flexible plastic. PVC can be extruded in any form, which is why it is mainly used for products with complex shapes, such as dashboards and children’s toys.

One of the most commonly used plastics

Polyvinyl chloride was discovered around 1840 by a French physicist and in 1872, it was discovered how PVC can be produced. After the Second World War, the production of PVC began and this plastic made its appearance in our daily lives. We mainly know PVC as PVC pipe in which electrical wires are carried into buildings. Today, PVC pipes are also used as water, gas and waste pipes. In the 1960s, PVC became fashionable as a floor covering, the ever-popular vinyl flooring, while PVC laminate has been in the ascendant in recent years. The fact that PVC is so popular has everything to do with its workability, insulation and the accuracy of processing. PVC can be extruded in any form, which is why it is mainly used for products with complex shapes, such as dashboards and children’s toys. There are very strict requirements for the materials used during production, especially for the so-called plasticisers which determine the flexibility of PVC. These requirements are very strict to ensure that PVC is safe for medical use and for toys.

Long life, easy to recycle

PVC products have a long service life: pipes made of polyvinyl chloride have a lifespan of at least 100 years. The big advantage of PVC is that it is easy to recycle. At the end of its life span, PVC can easily be ground into granules that will serve as the basis for new PVC products.

The differences between hard and soft PVC

When it comes to PVC sheets, we can distinguish between two types, solid PVC and PVC foam sheets (foam board). PVC foam sheet is a particularly light material with a specific gravity of about 0.5 g / cm³, making it approximately 50% lighter than hard PVC sheets. Thanks to its light weight, the plates are not particularly stiff. Foamboard can be used for many different purposes: the properties of these PVC sheets make them widely used in screen printing and the advertising industry – they are very suitable for printing. The material is also used within the construction industry because of its good fire resistance, and sound and heat insulating properties. In addition, the material is readily machinable, making it extra easy for building applications.

Hard PVC sheets are many times heavier in weight and therefore also many times stiffer and form-retaining. An important property of hard PVC sheets is their high chemical resistance, their compressive strength, electrically insulation and processing accuracy. These properties and the good price / performance ratio of the material ensure that the PVC sheets are widely used in machine construction and electrical engineering. We also see the material widely used in construction. For example, PVC sheets are extremely suitable for both façade applications and insulation or filling strips. PVC is easy to machine: with the right tools, you can saw, cut and drill it. PVC also accepts paint or glue with no problems, although the latter can only be done using the correct PVC glue. All the products you need for cleaning, fixing and glueing PVC can be found in our webshop.