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ABS vs.

PVC

Both ABS and PVC are used in pipes because they are non-toxic and resistant to abrasion.
ABS pipes are easier to install compared to PVC pipes, but also more likely to deform when
exposed to the sun. ABS stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and PVC stands for
polyvinyl chloride.

Comparison chart

ABS PVC

Full Name Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene Polyvinyl chloride


Pipes, instruments, canoes, Pipes, cable insulation, clothes,
Uses
luggage, appliances, toys toys
CAS number 9003-56-9 9002-86-2
Molecular (C8H8C4H6C3H3N)n (C2H3Cl)n
formula
Contains BPA No Yes
Properties Tough, rigid, low cost. Flexible, but durable. low cost

Contents: ABS vs PVC


1 Pipes
1.1 Use in Construction
2 Other uses
3 Strength
4 Durability
5 Cost
6 Concerns
7 Disposal
8 References

Stacked blue PVC pipes


Pipes

PVC and ABS pipes are resistant to most acids, alkalis and salts. However, they are not
resistant to aromatic and chlorinated hydrocarbons. Both types of piping can be used
above or below the ground, but ABS is more likely to deform when exposed to the sun.
Because of this, some local regulations require ABS pipes to contain pigments to
protect it from UV radiation or to be painted withlatex paint. PVC is usually made
softer and more flexible by the addition of plasticizers.

ABS pipes are easier to install than PVC pipes, as PVC pipes need a purple primer
before each joint is glued together, and the joints must then be held together for 5 to
10 seconds for the glue to take hold.
Use in Construction

ABS is used in drain-waste-vent pipe systems and sewer


systems. It is also used aselectrical insulation. PVC is also used
to produce pipes such as for drain-waste-vent systems and for
insulation on electrical cables.

Legos are made of ABS

Other uses

ABS is also used to create musical instruments, golf club heads, car bumpers,
protective headgear, whitewater canoes, luggage, kitchenappliances and toys,
including Lego. It is also used as a colorant in some tattoo inks.

PVC is also used in clothes, especially to create leather-like or waterproof material, in


toys, car interiors, vinyl flooring, shower curtains, and many other plastic products.

Strength

ABS piping has a higher impact strength than PVC, especially at lower temperatures.
However, ABS can deform under sun exposure.

Durability

ABS is highly durable with high impact strength. PVC is less durable, as it is designed
to be flexible and softer than usual plastics. However, both plastics are resistant to
chemical and water degradation.

Cost

A 2in x 2ft ABS pipe costs $5.79 on Amazon.com.

A 1in x 2ft PVC plain end pipe costs $9.99 on Amazon.com.


Concerns

PVC-coated wires can form HCl (Hydrochloric acid) fumes in a fire, which can be
ahealth hazard. Plasticizers may leak out of PVC into the environment. The EU have
now banned 3 types of phthalates used in PVC: DBP, BBP and DEHP.

Disposal

Neither ABS nor PVC is biodegradable.

References
Wikipedia: Polyvinyl chloride

PVC vs. Upvc

Regular PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a common, strong but lightweight plastic


used in construction. It is made softer and more flexible by the addition
ofplasticizers. If no plasticizers are added, it is known as uPVC (unplasticized
polyvinyl chloride), rigid PVC, or vinyl siding in the U.S.

Full Name Polyvinyl chloride Unplasticized polyvinyl chloride

Pipes, cable insulation, Window frames, plumbing and draining


Uses
clothes, toys

Contains phthalates Yes No

Contains BPA Yes No

Flexible, but durable. Rigid and durable; does not flex; safe
Properties low cost for transporting drinking water; fire-
resistant; recyclable
Contents: PVC vs uPVC
1 Uses of PVC vs. uPVC 2 Durability
1.1 In Construction 3 Cost
1.2 uPVC vs. PVC Pipes 4 Safety and Risks
1.3 Windows 5 Disposal
1.4 Other Uses 6 References

Uses of PVC vs. uPVC

Stacked blue PVC pipes

In Construction
As a flexible plastic, PVC is used to produce a wide variety of piping. Larger PVC pipes
are often used in plumbing to distribute non-potable water. PVC piping can also be
used to insulate electrical cables.
uPVC is used as a replacement for wood in construction, such as in double
glazed window frames and window sills and in what is known as vinyl siding in the U.S.
It is a versatile material that can be manufacturered in many colors or made to look
like other materials (e.g., wood). uPVC is also used instead of cast iron for certain types
of heavy-duty plumbing and draining.

uPVC vs. PVC Pipes


PVC is used as a replacement for copper and aluminum pipes and is used in waste
lines, irrigation systems and pool circulation systems. It is easy to cut into smaller
pieces and can be fastened with glue, making it a good alternative to metal.
uPVC is used for the majority of plastic pipes in the world, as it is incredibly resistant to
chemical erosion and has smoother inner walls that help to encourage water flow. It
also functions well in a wide range of temperatures and operating pressures. It is
incredibly strong, stiff and cost-effective, and so is often used for sewage lines and
exterior drainage pipes. Even so, uPVC piping is much less common in the U.S., where
PVC piping is preferred.
Neither PVC nor uPVC is used to transmit drinking water. cPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl
chloride) is used instead.
Windows
PVC is not used for window frames, although some manufacturers may use PVC to
refer to their uPVC windows. Instead, uPVC is used for window frames, as it does not
decompose and is weather-resistant.
uPVC will not change shape under normal weather conditions, but it can be reshaped
at very high temperatures. uPVC windows are more energy-efficient than those with
wooden or metal frames. Moreover, uPVC can also be used for door frames and
conservatories.
This video shows how a typical uPVC window is installed:

Other Uses
Small and slender PVC pipes are sometimes found in medical equipment. PVC is also
used in leather-like or waterproof clothing materials, vinyl flooring, shoes, toys, car
interiors and car cables, shower curtains, and numerous other plastic products.
Because uPVC has fewer health concerns associated with it, it is found in medical and
dental pieces. For example, uPVC is sometimes used for dental retainers.

Durability
Because it is designed to be softer and more flexible than many other plastics, PVC is
less durable than uPVC. However, both plastics are resistant to sunlight, oxidation, and
a variety of chemicals. PVC piping's ability to withstand sunlight sometimes makes it
more useful than ABS pipes.

Cost
It is very cheap to manufacture many PVC and uPVC products, which is why they are so
ubiquitous in a wide variety of affordable products.
PVC pipe can be bought by length or weight. The thicker the piping, the most expensive
the pipe will be. Still, PVC pipe is very affordable, with many 10-foot lengths costing
less than $10.00 a piece.

Safety and Risks


PVC-coated wires can form HCl fumes in a fire, which can be a health hazard.
Plasticizers may leach out of PVC into the environment.
Phthalates are what allow PVC to be flexible. Some of the phthalates used in PVC have
been restricted or banned over the years, and many others are being replaced with
safer phthalates. Dibutyl, benzyl butyl, and DEHP are some of the more commonly
banned or restricted phthalates.
To date, there are no mainstream concerns regarding the use of uPVC, which does not
use phthalates or BPA.

Disposal
Neither PVC nor uPVC are biodegradable. However, uPVC is recyclable and can be
reshaped into new products or pipes at very high temperatures.

References
Wikipedia:Polyvinyl chloride
Wikipedia:Plastic pipework
What is uPVC?