What are PVC Pipes, Fittings, and Their Common Applications?

Ubiquitous throughout the transportation systems of flowing liquids, Polyvinyl Chloride piping, or PVC piping, is a universal tool applicable for many infrastructures. With over two million miles of PVC piping currently existing within the United States, the utilization of this component can be seen in the construction of electrical insulation for medical tubing, plumbing & irrigation, water supply, and more. To better understand the fundamentals of PVC piping, we will go over their common uses and the functional purposes they serve amongst various applications.

In general, PVC pipes are often used in lieu of copper piping or as a plastic alternative  when more flexibility is required. PVC also serves as a useful material for constructing fittings, those of which are small components that attach two or more PVC pipes together. Coming in various shapes, sizes, and materials, PVC pipes can be found in four primary groups including those that are unplasticized, chlorinated, molecularly oriented, and high impact types.

Created without plasticizer, unplasticized PVC pipes (PVC-U) are most commonly used for industrial drainage, pipe fittings, drinking water, waste & soil transportation, sewage, and more. Made without phthalates, a typical plasticizer used to alter PVC pipe flexibility, stiffness, and strength, this type of PVC piping is suitable for uses requiring high mechanical performance, chemical resistance, and the resistance to UV exposure. Not only are these components durable, but cost-efficient, fully recyclable, and an environmentally-friendly option for many applications.

Like their name, chlorinated PVC, or C-PVC pipes, are made through the chlorination of PVC resin. Although similar to PVC-U in function and use, C-PVC pipes are made with a higher quantity of chlorine, amongst other additives such as impact modifiers and stabilizers. Improving its durability and flexibility, this allows C-PVC to tolerate dramatic changes in temperature, resist corrosion, and endure impact without damage. Introduced to the application of water systems in the 1960s, C-PVC has evolved for the use of C-PVC pipe fittings, the transportation of industrial liquids, and the transportation of drinking water through varying climates.

Molecularly oriented PVC (PVC-O), unlike PVC-U or C-PVC, are made to withstand high amounts of pressure. Constructed by reinforcing an unplasticized PVC-U pipe with multiple layers, PVC-O are less likely to corrode or fracture when under pressure. Giving the structure rigidity while allowing the pipe to maintain flexibility and strength, these PVC-O are typically used for the implementation of irrigation pipes, sewer systems in unstable earth, sewer pumps, as well as any areas that require durabile piping.

Dissimilar to PVC-O, High Impact PVC (PVC-Hi) is a new form of PVC piping meant to withstand greater amounts of pressure and force. Reinforced to create an alloy composition and thermoplastic resin by mixing PVC with polycarbonate, PVC-Hi is meant to be used when no other pipe can. Extremely resistant to thermal distortion and high stress environments, these pipes are most often constructed as commercial sewage systems, industrial liquid pipelines, and fittings.

Although the average lifespan of a PVC pipe or component can range anywhere from 40 to 70 years, exposure to the elements and continual use can greatly impact its durability. For aging or compromised piping in need of replacement, look no further than Industrial Parts Circuit, a trusted supplier of PVC pipes, PVC pipe fittings, and their parts and components. Due to our quality control and export compliance, we operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B certification and accreditation. If you would like to request a quote for your comparisons, you can submit an RFQ form as provided on our website. Upon receipt, a dedicated account manager will quickly review and respond with a personalized solution to your needs in just 15 minutes or less, 24/7x365.


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