PVC - the most consumed plastic material in Spain
About plastics - information and interesting facts 23-07-2020
It is paradoxical that the great majority of polymers were discovered by mistake or pure chance.
This is also the case with least stable commercial polymer, which is also the most attractive for current industries.
This is reflected in the high tonnage consumed annually in the world of the material known as PVC.

It was discovered by accident on at least two occasions during the 19th century. It first appeared as a white solid in bottles of vinyl chloride after exposure to sunlight, and later, after a polymerisation process of various vinyl halides in 1872, Baumann successfully completed his experiment when he obtained these forms of plastic products.
That commercial success was principally due to the development of suitable stabilisers and other additives that made the production of very useful thermoplastic compounds possible.

Polyvinyl chloride or PVC is a chemical combination of carbon, hydrogen and chlorine.
It is a thermoplastic material, which means that under the action of heat it softens and can be moulded easily, and after cooling it recovers its initial consistency and retains the new shape. It is a white material that starts to soften at around 80°C and breaks down above 140°C.

There are two types of PVC in industry:

Rigid: for packaging, windows, pipes – which have, to a large extent, replaced iron (which oxidises more easily) – old dolls, etc.
Flexible: cables, toys and modern dolls, footwear, flooring, coatings, stretch ceilings, etc.

PVC is characterised by being ductile and tough, it is dimensionally stable and environmentally resistant. Furthermore, it can be recycled using various methods.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) is a cost-effective and versatile material that is used in a variety of applications, such as building and construction, healthcare, electronics, cars and other sectors, in products that include pipes and coatings, blood bags and tubes, wires and cable insulation, windscreen system components, and more.


Vinyl is versatile: it can be as rigid as industrial pipes, as flexible as plastic wrap, and as thin and flexible as a wall coating. It can also be completely transparent or adapted to any desired colour.
It is a light material which is chemically inert and harmless.

The exceptional properties of PVC, together with its good quality/price ratio and its great versatility, make it the most consumed plastic in Spain.

PVC is mainly used in long-life applications (the construction industry alone absorbs 55% of the total PVC production). 64% of its applications have a useful life between 15 and 100 years (pipes, windows, doors, blinds, furniture, etc.) and 24% between 2 and 15 years (household appliances, car, upholstery, hoses, toys, etc.).
Only 12% is used in short-life applications. Between 0 and 2 years (bottles, tubs, packaging film, etc.).
In addition to its versatility, PVC occupies a privileged position in the plastic family due to its interesting set of properties, as it is a light, strong, inert and completely harmless material, which has good fire behaviour (does not spread flames and is self-extinguishing) and is waterproof, insulating (heat, electrical and acoustic), weather resistant, very transparent, protects foods, has a good quality/price ratio, and is easy to transform (extrusion, injection, calendaring, thermoforming, pressing, paste moulding and coating), as well as being fully recyclable.

The diversity of possible formulations allows PVC to be adapted to very diverse applications and requirements, such as:
  •  Construction: pipes for the distribution of drinking water and drainage, windows, doors, blinds, flooring, sheets for the waterproofing of roofs and swimming pools, wall linings, electrical conduits, etc.
It is used for its insulation properties, corrosion resistance, low weight, insensitivity to damp and impossibility of rotting. The latter two qualities are particularly important for the outdoor parts of buildings, and can only be achieved in a durable way in other materials after permanent impregnation or lacquering.
  •  Containers and packaging: food applications such as bottles (mineral water, edible oils, vinegars, juices, etc.) tubs, containers.
  • Medical applications: tubes and bags for IV fluids, plasma and blood for dialysis transfusions. Surgical gloves, etc.
Studies carried out demonstrate that the use of PVC as a material in contact with human blood and plasma allows the useful life of these biological substances to be extended by 30%. 
Car: door panels, dashboards, trim profiles, electrical cables, window seals, upholstery, fillers, etc.
  • Electrical and electronics: electrical cable sheathing for domestic uses (household appliances, telephone, control panels, etc.) and industrial uses (power plants, substations, etc.), distribution boxes, electrical conduit, pipes, sockets, etc. 
  • Agriculture: waterproof sheeting for reservoirs and channels for irrigation, pipes for irrigation and drainage, hoses, plastics for greenhouses, etc. 
  • Toys: dolls, balls, inflatable items, etc. 
  • Furniture: garden furniture, office, etc. 
  • Footwear: shoes, waterproof boots, sandals, etc. 
  • Leather goods: bags, suitcases, wallets, upholstery, etc. 
  • Stationery items: folders, book covers, etc.
Here you can download the data sheet with all the generalised properties of this material, but if you have a more specific enquiry, do not hesitate to contact us.

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