What is vinyl?
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC, or vinyl) is one of many different types of plastics. Characteristics of plastics vary according to need for flexibility, transparency, weight, thickness and colour.
PVC is produced in a polymerisation process whereby monomers of vinyl chloride are linked together to form long polymer chains. (See the section Manufacturing for more information on the process.)
All plastics can be grouped into two main polymer families:Thermoplastics (soften on heating and harden again on cooling) and Thermosets (never soften once they have been moulded). PVC is a thermoplastic. One of the benefits of this is that it can be recycled.
Vinyl is one of the most common plastics in the world because of its versatility. Most of us use it everyday. Not only can it be made into rigid or flexible products, thick or thin, it can be made as either a coloured or transparent material. Because of its versatility, vinyl has myriad uses in a wide range of industries:
- Building and construction
- Automobile, appliance, electronics parts
- Wire and cable insulation
- Consumer products