Polyvinyl chloride and chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (PVC and CPVC) are versatile, corrosion-resistant polymer plastics used most commonly in plumbing and industrial applications. The key difference between PVC and CPVC is heat resistance. The added chlorine in CPVC (hence the name “chlorinated polyvinyl chloride”) allow the material to retain rigidity in much higher temperatures. As a result, CPVC is used commonly in hot water piping applications and other systems in which more fragile plastics may not fare well. For this same reason, CPVC is generally more expensive than PVC, although both are inexpensive compared to the cost of metal or PEX (and installation and repairs are much easier as well).
While PVC and CPVC are certainly common in piping and plumbing applications, the scope of practical uses is actually much wider. PVC, both flexible and rigid, are used in countless healthcare, construction, automotive, and electrical applications as well. Because of its flexibility, durability, and resistance to water, flexible PVC can be used in raingear, boots, shower curtains, and even beach balls and other water toys. And we’re willing to bet that you probably have a few PVC products in your wallet or purse this very second. That’s right, credit cards!
Regarding PVC and CPVC fabrication, both materials can be heat bonded fairly easily and both can be securely bonded with chemicals and adhesives you’d find at any hardware store. For experienced PVC and CPVC fabricators, PVC and CPVC fabricating as well as PVC and CPVC machining can be completed with relative ease compared to other plastics
In terms of PVC and CPVC distribution and sales, these plastics are commonly sold as pipes but can also be purchased in rods or sheets of varying sizes and thicknesses. Generally, CPVC piping is off white whereas PVC piping is available in white, grey, and purple (the latter typically signifies recycled, non-potable water). Sheets are generally available in a range of colors, however, and can be painted easily. For more on PVC and CPVC fabrication applications, contact the team at JC Finley.