Rigid PVC pipe is by far the largest application for PVC resin in Australia. The pipe is used in the building and construction industry and primary industry as well as the utilities markets. Products include pipe and fittings for stormwater, potable water, sewerage, irrigation and pressurised water reticulation.
PVC is the preferred material for pipes of up to 300 mm diameter. Increasingly, PVC is now chosen for pipes greater than 300mm in diameter where, in the past, concrete was the preferred material.
The long life span of PVC pipes saves time and money because they rarely need maintenance or replacement.
The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) gives all PVC pipe systems a Category A rating, signifying a life expectancy of over 100 years.
PVC is used extensively for insulating and sheathing electrical cable such as power cable, data cable and domestic cabling. Properties such as durability, flexibility, flame resistance and cost effectiveness make PVC ideal for cable sheathing.
Rigid cable conduits, made from rigid PVC, are used to carry finer, more light-weight cables. Rigid conduit is suited to applications where protection to the inner cables is necessary and where it is important to avoid movement after installation.
Recycling PVC cables
Recycling of end-of-life cables has been done in Australia for many years. As well as recovering and recycling the metal, some 2 000 tonnes of shredded PVC from cables is recycled each year. Recycled cable PVC is used for products such as shoe soles, matting and mud flaps.
Over 5,000,000 square metres of vinyl floor coverings are laid in Australia each year. PVC is the most common material used for resilient sheet and tile flooring.
Vinyl flooring is particularly suited to heavily-used surfaces. Hospitals, sporting clubs and commercial kitchens value the resilient, slip resistant and hygienic flooring. Both commercial and domestic users find vinyl flooring hardwearing, warm underfoot, cost-effective and easy to clean because of its pore-free surface.
Vinyl floors are low maintenance, hygienic and fire resistant.
Seams in vinyl flooring can be heat welded where joins are fused by heating PVC tape across the seam. Heat sealed seams are more water-resistant and hygienic than cold joined seams. The technique is ideal for floors where a high level of hygiene and safety is needed e.g. hospital operating theatres.
PVC floor coverings are available in a wide variety of colours and finishes. Designs suit educational, hospital, residential or commercial applications.
Cladding and roofing membranes
In the building and construction market, PVC cladding is a low maintenance, high quality alternative to brick, wood or aluminium. PVC cladding is suitable for both old and new house construction for many reasons:
- painting is not necessary
- construction is lightweight
- resistance to weathering, including high UV and salt-air, is good
- a wide range of colours is available
- light roofing is cool – it reflects sunlight and keeps inside temperatures lower.
PVC roofing membranes are easy to install, highly waterproof and need little maintenance making them ideal installations in new and renovated buildings.
Profiles – Walls, windows and doors
PVC is being increasingly used to product permanent formwork profile for walls and columns, which when filled with ready mixed concrete, produces an economical, strong, durable structure. The extruded PVC profiles slide or click into place, automatically interconnecting for rapid assembly and achieving an attractive, low maintenance wall surface.
In Europe and the US, one of the major uses of rigid PVC is to provide profiles for windows and doors. With the emphasis on energy efficiency of homes and buildings in Australia, the local PVC window market is gaining ground. Some 40% of all window profiles across Europe are made from PVC; in some countries such as Germany and the UK, the market penetration is much higher.
Architects, other construction industry specifiers and consumers choose to install PVC window profiles for their many features including:
- toughness and durability
- low maintenance
- resistance to rot
- design flexibility
- price competitiveness
- easy processing and fabrication.
Double-glazed PVC window profiles offer excellent thermal and acoustic properties – qualities which are now increasingly sought in urban developments in this country.
In Australia, PVC windows have been installed in a range of residential home designs and apartment buildings and are particularly beneficial near the sea due to their durability in salt-air.
Toy makers around the world use PVC to make some of the best known and most popular toys and children's products. PVC toys are considered safe because they are hygienic, durable, do not break and are easy to clean.
PVC is used in up to 40% of toys sold in Australia – testament to its safety record and its versatility. PVC can be formulated into flexible, rigid and multi-coloured toys ranging from rattles and balls to paddling pools and trikes.
Other commonly used PVC products include garden hose, shoes and electrical products.
In healthcare, plasticised PVC products, including flexible tubing, intravenous bags, catheters and protective gloves are regularly used by practitioners. The following table shows how the properties of PVC suit medical use.
PVC is useful for
- Monitoring procedures
- Adapting to varied & multiple sites
- Control of toxins and infection
- Protection from toxins and infection
- Resistant to temperature change
- Resistant to water and other liquids
For more information on Australian Vinyls resins, call the Sales and Marketing Manager (03) 8359 7365.