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UPVC vs CPVC: Understanding the Differences and Choosing the Right Polymer

Introduction to PVC and its Types

PVC, an acronym for polyvinyl chloride, is a synthetic polymer used in manufacturing a wide range of industrial, commercial and household products. PVC is known for its versatility, durability and cost-effectiveness.

Due to its unique properties, including its ease of processing, low cost and long lifespan, PVC is becoming increasingly popular in the construction and electrical industries. This article will provide you with an introduction to PVC and discuss the different types of PVC, with a particular focus on UPVC and CPVC.

Definition and Production Process of PVC

PVC is produced by the polymerization of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), a gas that is formed by the reaction of ethylene with chlorine. The polymerization occurs through two major processes: suspension and emulsion polymerization.

In the suspension process, large volumes of VCM are mixed in water, and a polymerization initiator is added to the mixture. The VCM forms small droplets (called a latex) that are suspended in water.

The initiator causes the droplets to undergo polymerization, causing them to grow in size until they reach the desired molecular weight. The polymerized PVC is then removed from the water, washed and dried.

Addition of Chemicals to PVC

To enhance its properties, various chemicals are added to PVC during the manufacturing process. These chemicals include plasticizers, stabilizers and impact modifiers.

Plasticizers are added to PVC to make it more flexible, as well as to improve its resistance to low temperatures. Stabilizers are used to protect PVC from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, heat and other environmental factors.

Impact modifiers are used to improve the impact strength of PVC by reducing its brittleness.

Formation of Different Types of PVCs

The addition of these chemicals gives rise to different types of PVCs. The most common types are UPVC and CPVC. Unsaturated polyvinyl chloride (UPVC) is a rigid, unplasticized polymer that has a high tensile strength, low water absorption, and excellent resistance to acids, alkalis, and inorganic chemicals.

Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) is a more flexible and heat-resistant polymer that can withstand higher temperatures than UPVC.


Composition and Manufacturing Process of UPVC

UPVC is made by polymerizing vinyl chloride monomer without a plasticizer. The polymerization process results in a rigid and strong material with a high degree of purity.

UPVC is also known as rigid PVC because of its rigid and tough nature. The polymerization of vinyl chloride monomer without a plasticizer results in a very strong and durable product.

Unlike flexible PVC, UPVC does not contain any phthalates, which are chemicals used to make plastics more flexible.

Properties of UPVC

UPVC is known for its excellent properties, including low water absorption, resistance to alkalis, oils, acids, and inorganic chemicals, high tensile strength, and good electrical insulation properties. UPVC products have a long lifespan and require minimal maintenance, making them ideal for use in various industries.

UPVC is also recyclable, making it an environmentally friendly option.

Uses of UPVC

UPVC is widely used in the construction industry in the form of pipes, window frames, and cladding. It is also used in electrical insulation applications such as cable insulation, electrical conduit pipes, and switchgear components.

UPVC sheets and films are also used for a variety of applications, including protective packaging and signage.

Advantages and Disadvantages of UPVC

UPVC has many advantages over other materials. It is lightweight, corrosion-resistant, impact-resistant, and weather-resistant.

It is also easy to install, requires minimal maintenance, and is resistant to fire. However, UPVC has some disadvantages.

It can leach plasticizers over time, causing it to become brittle and prone to cracking. UPVC also has low-temperature stability, meaning that it can become brittle in extremely cold temperatures.


In conclusion, PVC is a versatile and cost-effective synthetic polymer that is used in the manufacturing of various industrial, commercial, and household products. The addition of different chemicals results in different types of PVC, with UPVC and CPVC being the most common.

UPVC is known for its excellent properties and is widely used in construction and electrical industries. While it has its advantages, UPVC also has some disadvantages that should be considered when choosing a material for a specific application.

CPVC: A Heat-Resistant and Versatile Polymer

CPVC, or chlorinated polyvinyl chloride, is a type of plastic widely used in the production of hot-water lines, sprinkler systems, and chemical transport in the metal treating and wastewater treatment industries, among others. In this article, we will discuss the production process, properties, uses, and compatibility of CPVC, as well as the key differences between UPVC and CPVC.

Production Process of CPVC

CPVC is produced by post-chlorination of PVC, which involves exposing PVC to chlorine, causing the vinyl chloride molecules to become chlorinated. The process results in a higher chlorine content, making CPVC more heat-resistant than PVC.

The chlorination process takes place after the PVC has been made into the desired shape, typically by extrusion or injection molding. This process results in a polymer that has improved heat stability and chemical resistance.

Properties of CPVC

CPVC has numerous properties that make it a popular choice for hot-water lines and other applications where high temperatures are involved. CPVC is flexible and easy to work with, and is also non-toxic, making it suitable for use in the food and beverage industry.

CPVC’s heat resistance is also a notable feature, as it can withstand temperatures up to 200F (93C), while maintaining its strength and structural integrity. Other properties that make CPVC a popular choice for industrial and commercial applications include its chemical resistance, good fire resistance, and excellent corrosion resistance.

Uses of CPVC

CPVC is widely used in industrial, commercial, and residential applications. It is a popular choice for hot-water lines, as it can withstand high temperatures without degradation.

CPVC is used in the food and beverage industry due to its non-toxic nature, and it is also used in wastewater treatment and chemical transport. In addition, CPVC is used for metal treating and is also used for the production of valves, pumps, and fittings.

Compatibility with Certain Chemicals

While CPVC is highly resistant to polar organic solvents, certain oils and grease under stress conditions can cause it to become brittle and prone to cracking. It is important to consider the compatibility of CPVC with the chemicals it will come in contact with when choosing it as a material for a specific application.

In general, CPVC is compatible with many common industrial and commercial chemicals, including most acids, alkalis, and salt solutions.

Difference between UPVC and CPVC

UPVC and CPVC are two related polymers that have some similarities but also exhibit some important differences. UPVC is a rigid and strong polymer that contains no plasticizers, while CPVC is more flexible and contains a higher chlorine content due to the post-chlorination process.

The main differences between these two polymers are highlighted below:

– High-temperature stability: CPVC has a higher maximum service temperature than UPVC, making it a better choice for high-temperature applications. – Compatibility with chlorinated and aromatic hydrocarbons: UPVC is incompatible with chlorinated and aromatic hydrocarbons, while CPVC is compatible with these chemicals.

– Toxicity: UPVC can be toxic if plasticizers are leached out, while CPVC is non-toxic. – Density: CPVC is denser than UPVC.

– Melt viscosity in processing: CPVC has a higher melt viscosity than UPVC, which can make it more difficult to process. – Maximum service temperature: UPVC has a maximum service temperature of around 65C, while CPVC can withstand temperatures up to 100C.

– Glass transition temperature: The glass transition temperature, or Tg, is the temperature at which a polymer transitions from a glassy state to a rubbery state. The Tg of UPVC is around 80-84C, while the Tg of CPVC is around 99-123C.

– Flammability: UPVC has lower flammability than CPVC.


CPVC is a versatile and heat-resistant polymer that is widely used in various industrial, commercial, and residential applications. Its unique properties, such as high-temperature stability, chemical resistance, and good fire resistance, make it an ideal choice for use in hot-water lines, chemical transport, and the food and beverage industry.

Understanding the properties and uses of CPVC, as well as its differences from UPVC, can help in making informed decisions on the choice of polymer for a specific application. In this article, we discussed the two most common types of PVC: UPVC and CPVC.

We provided an overview of their production processes, properties, uses, and differences. UPVC is a rigid, unplasticized polymer that is known for its high tensile strength and resistance to acids and inorganic chemicals.

CPVC, on the other hand, is more flexible, non-toxic, and heat-resistant, making it an ideal choice for hot-water lines and chemical transport. Understanding the properties and differences between UPVC and CPVC is important in choosing the right polymer for a specific application.

The versatility, durability, and cost-effectiveness of PVC make it a popular material that is used in manufacturing a wide range of industrial, commercial, and household products.

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