Many people have heard of PVC piping, but not many know what it’s all about; like that PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride for instance! Since the industrial revolution, and even before then, PVC has been making appearances all throughout history. There are literally thousands of different things that can be manufactured with use of raw PVC, including ceiling tiles, portable electronics, pipes, and signs. One need look no further than the price and easy manipulation of the PVC material to find out why it has become so popular. PVC has completely taken over industries, many having to do with construction, and has saved workers as well as customers a lot of time and money. vortexgravitybong It is just so easy to deal with, and the PVC pipe manufacturing process has come such a long way that it only takes a few minutes to complete! In fact, it is estimated that by 2016, plastic production of the PVC material will rise above at least 40 million tons!

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) consists of a vinyl polymer, which in turn consists of compressed vinyl groups, also referred to as ethenyls. In the chemical structure, one of the vinyl group’s hydrogens is replaced in favor of a chloride group. With the use of additives called plasticizers, it was soon discovered that PVC could be made with the ability to stretch and bend without breaking, in addition to being much softer. This discovery opened a door for a whole new variety of products, and helped to quickly move polyvinyl chloride to the third most widely used plastic in America.

These plasticizers made it possible for companies to manufacture things such as flexible hoses, electrical cable insulation, and fabrics, which was favorable for a number of obvious reasons. The most commonly used plasticizer is called phthalates, and due to its low prices, it has been used widely in the production process ever since its introduction in the 1920’s. So many more things can be made with this plasticized PVC, especially since it isn’t ruined by water. This allows things like inflatable pool toys and waterbeds to be made durable and in huge quantities.

PVC has to go through a process to become what it is, often referred to as polymerization, and specifically the polymerization of VCM, or vinyl chloride monomer. Most manufacturers of the PVC material put it through a type of polymerization called suspension polymerization. In order to go about this, they must place raw VCM in a machine which takes it through a series of steps including intense pressure, heating, and shaping of the raw material. It is then taken out of the machine and put into a cooling container in order to retain its shape.

PVC was actually first discovered by mistake in at least two recorded instances during the 1800’s. In 1835, Henri Victor Regnault, and in 1872, Eugen Baumann discovered that after leaving the material vinyl chloride out in the sunlight for an extended period of time, it developed hard white flakes/chunks. Nobody furthered the testing of this material until the early 20th century, when two men tried to manipulate the product. Russian Ivan Omstromislensky and German Fritz Klatte both tried and failed to manipulate it because it was just too difficult to work with.

Finally, in 1926, Waldo Semon and the B.F. Goodrich Company had the idea to plasticize the polyvinyl chloride by testing out different additives. This really revolutionized the industry, making the material much more friendly to both work with and use as a final product. Demand for the material shot to an all new height, and it became widespread on a commercial level. There’s really no question in why this was possible, what with plasticization and the unbeatable prices and uses of PVC.

The product most often created out of PVC would have to be piping, which unsurprisingly makes up more than half of all polyvinyl chloride production. PVC pipes have been hugely adopted by such industries as sanitary sewer construction and water distribution. In addition to its being light weight and low-priced, its quite easy to connect PVC piping, to run great distances underground. It’s also extremely durable, so the piping can stay good for decades before having to be replaced.

More than PVC piping alone though, PVC makes up so many other products that we’ve learn to become increasingly dependent on. Things as common as signs (advertisements, warnings, etc.) and stripes on vehicles are manufactured with polyvinyl chloride. For these types of products, PVC is flattened and dyed for little extra cost, and then cut by a computer-controlled machine to the exact dimensions instilled by the manufacturer. It seems that the different uses for PVC will never end!

 

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